Latin America continues to struggle with poverty, gangs and rising murder rates. Central America and northern South America are rife with turmoil due in part to the continuing pattern of political instability. The surge in homicides have made the region one of the most violent places on earth. Honduras is now the deadliest country in Latin America and has the highest murder rate in the world. The devastating effects of famine and economic depravity have combined with the proliferation of MS-13 (Mara-Salvatrucha) to make life utterly unbearable for the majority of Hondurans. The rise of MS-13 and other Latin American gangs has not gone unnoticed. The gang culture has spread north and taken hold in the United States with California becoming a stronghold of gang activity. And shockingly, nearly half of all gang members in the United States are Hispanic American.
Beginning in 1973, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began to watch a new gang that proved to be as violent and ruthless as any this country has ever seen, the Mexican Mafia. They have been glorified on the silver screen, most notably in the film ‘American Me’ starring Edward James Olmos. But the reality is that the real Mexican Mafia is far stronger and far more dangerous than portrayed in the film. Rene “Boxer” Enriquez teams up with author Chris Blackford in recounting his life as former member of the gang, telling all in this memoir that is guaranteed to leave you speechless. In 2003, Enriquez was still a ranking member of the gang, but the loss of several loved ones, a brother with health issues and the realization that the gang he swore allegiance to didn’t swear allegiance to him, he decided to step away and become a cooperating witness for the U.S. government. His testimony has proven to be critical in the apprehension and subsequent incarceration of members of the Mexican Mafia. He has also become a motivational speaker in the hope of preventing young men and women from making his mistakes. As of today he is still incarcerated and the possibility of parole is uncertain.
It is with remarkable courage and self-examination that Enriquez is able to tell us his life story. He does not glamorize the gang life and admits to his failures. The book is gritty, sad but the reality that awaits young men and women enticed by the fast lifestyle enjoyed by gang members. Sadly, there will be young adults who readily accept a life on the streets believing that they are invincible or too intelligent to make the same mistakes as Enriquez. But there others who may read this book and make a decision that will ultimately save their lives. So take a seat and follow Enriquez as he takes us deep inside the Mexican Mafia and all that is has to offer.