VALLECITOS DE ZARAGOZA, Mexico—There is only one hotel still open in this cartel-besieged town, and I am the only guest in it. The former owner of the Sierra Inn here in western Mexico’s Guerrero state is a local businessman and political candidate who was run off the road and shot to death by sicarios [hitmen] two years back. He’d envisioned turning Vallecitos into a hot-spot for eco-tourism—the town is nestled in an idyllic, wooded valley in the Sierra Madre del Sur—and at the time he was killed he had several other development projects in the works. Now only this lonely hotel remains. It’s early fall and the rainy season is underway in these mountains. When the storms are too bad to go out, I wander the deserted halls, the silent dining room. I look at the empty pool, study paintings of the slain owner’s horses on the walls. All kept immaculate by the gerente, the caretaker, and his wife. The gerente went to school with the murdered owner and weeps to talk of him. The wife will not speak to me at all. “We keep hoping some day things will get better here,” says caretaker José Ramos, 46, while inspecting… Read full this story
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