Elijah Wald – Corrido Watch
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On this page, I am posting various "news corridos." For over a century, corridos have been a sort of musical newspaper in Mexico -- or better, as a musical newsmagazine, since they comment on and amplify the news rather than simply transmitting word of the latest events. These days, such corridos rarely are recorded by the top stars, who are thinking in terms of albums and songs that will last, but instead tend to come from less popular artists, who hope to capture some attention with their topicality.

In order to keep this site even slightly up to date, I will have to rely on help from anyone with news of new topical corridos. If you hear any corridos about stories currently in the news, please, please let me know about them. Likewise, if you want to pass on information gleaned from this site, please give credit, so that other people will be aware that this is up here.
The most recent song is about the ongoing murders of young women working in the border factories, or maquiladoras, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. That is followed by Los Tigres del Norte's critique of the Mexican presidential administration of Vicente Fox. Both of these songs are by Paulino Vargas, the most influential corrido composer of the modern age.

I started this page shortly after the attacks of September 11, having heard of three 9/11 corridos in San Antonio, several more in northern Mexico, and two in Los Angeles that had been recorded, as well as reading an LA Times story that mentioned various unrecorded songs by amateur corridistas. Four such songs are reprinted below.
Las mujeres de Juárez

Los Tigres del Norte have long been the socially conscious
stars of the corrido world, and consider themselves the voice of the Mexican people. Most famous for their songs of Chicano pride and the problems of immigrants in the US (as well as their many narcocorridos), they have regularly touched on other topical themes. This song about the long string of murders of young women in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, which has claimed over 300 victims, has attracted a good deal of controversy recently. The local chamber of deputies tried to ban the song as detrimental to the city's image and likely to discourage investment. The author, Paulino Vargas (pictured at right), is the defining master of the modern corrido, composer of trend-setting drug smuggler ballads like "Lamberto Quintero" and "La Banda del Carro Rojo." In recent years, he has been concentrating more on topical themes.
Las mujeres de Juárez
(Letra y música de Paulino Vargas, grabado por Los Tigres del Norte en su disco Pacto de Sangre [2004])
Humillante y abusiva la intocable impunidad
Los huesos en el desierto muestran la cruda verdad
Las muertas de ciudad Juárez son vergüenza nacional

Mujeres trabajadoras de maquiladoras
Cumplidoras y eficientes, mano de obra sin igual
Lo que importan las empresas no lo checa el aduanal

Vergonzosos comentarios se escuchan por todo el mundo
La respuesta es muy sencilla cuáles saben la verdad
Ya se nos quitó lo macho o nos falta dignidad

La mujer es bendición y milagro de la fe, la fuente de la creación
Parió al zar y parió al rey y hasta al mismo Jesucristo lo dio a luz una mujer
Es momento ciudadanos de cumplir nuestro deber
Si la ley no lo resuelve, lo debemos resolver
Castigando a los cobardes que ultrajan a la mujer

Llantos, lamentos y rezos se escuchan en el lugar
De las madres angustiadas y al cielo imploran piedad
Que les devuelvan los restos y poderlos sepultar

El gran policía del mundo también nos quiso ayudar
Pero las leyes Aztecas no quisieron aceptar
Tal vez no les convenía que esto se llegue a aclarar

Ya hay varias miles de muertas en panteones clandestinos
Muchas desaparecidas que me resisto a creer
Es el reclamo del pueblo que lo averigüe la ley

The Women of Juárez
(Words and music by Paulino Vargas, recorded by Los Tigres del Norte on their album Pacto de Sangre [2004])

Humiliating and abusive, the untouchable impunity (1)
The bones in the desert show the raw truth
The dead women of Ciudad Juárez are a national shame

Women workers of the maquiladoras
Reliable and efficient, hired hands without peer
What is important to the businesses is not checked by the customs office

Shameful commentaries are heard throughout the world
The response is very simple to those who know the truth
Either we have lost our manhood or we lack dignity

Woman is a blessing and a miracle of faith, the fount of creation
She gave birth to the czar and gave birth to the king, and even Jesus Christ himself was born of woman
It is the moment, citizens, to live up to our responsibility
If the law does not resolve this, we must
Punishing the cowards who abuse women

Tears, laments, and prayers are heard in the region
Of the agonized mothers and they cry on heaven to have pity
That the bodies be given to them so that they can be properly buried

The great world policeman also wanted to help us
But the Aztec laws did not allow it (2)
Perhaps it was not in their interest for this to be cleared up

Already there are thousands of dead women in hidden graves
Many disappeared, that I can hardly believe
The public demands that the law investigate this.

(1) "impunidad" is a common term in Mexico, referring to the routine failure of officials to bring criminals to justice.
(2)This appears to be a reference to the Mexican government's refusing US law enforcement assistance.

Translation ©2004 Elijah Wald

Guerra por la paz
guerra por la pazPedro Rivera, record company president and the most frequent topical corridista to be widely distributed, produced this corrido shortly after the invasion of Iraq. It is notable first for his identification of the US as his "tierra nacional," a rare thing in corrido lyrics on either side of the border, but appropriate to his Los Angeles audience.  Then he adds a subdued note of social commentary, speaking of three of the first American soldiers killed in the war, Central American immigrants who were posthumously granted US citizenship. This was a controversial issue in the immigrant community, since it highlighted the fact that it is so much easier for an immigrant to join the marines than to gain voting or other basic rights of citizenship. According to estimates by the Department of Defense, about 38,000 troops (some 3 percent of the U.S. armed forces) are not citizens, but they are disproportionatly represented on the front lines, because they cannot get the security clearance necessary for most other jobs. Thus, the Los Angeles Times reported that five of the first ten Californians killed in the war were non-citizens.
Guerra por la paz
(Letra y música de Pedro Rivera, grabado por Rivera en su disco Guerra por la Paz [2003])

Voy a cantarles señores con tristeza y con pena
Esto que esta suciediendo en mi tierra nacional
Se ha desatado la guerra contra la nacion de Irak

Por causas del terorismo y de tantos atentados
De nuestras torres gemelas solo el recuerdo ha quedado
Miles de nuestros hermanos alli quedaron sepultados

Un hombre cruel y tirano, llamado Saddam Hussein
A sometido a su pueblo a como impone su ley
Los tienen la vil pobreza, y él viviendo como un rey

Spoken: Para que quiero dinero si no lo puedo gastar?
Ya me hicieron ciudadano cuando me iban a enterrar,  
Mi familia con su llanto mi sepulcro fue a regar.

Son los heroes de la guerra que murieron con honor
Defendiendo a su bandera con orgullo y con valor
Ahora despues de su muerte son parte de esta nacion

Jose Gutierrez es uno, huerfano de padre y madre
A Jesus Alberto Suarez como han llorado tus padres
Jose Garibay, Jalisco te recuerda con pesares

Por qué pasan estas cosas que nuestras vidas aterran?
Como le pido a mi dios porque se acaben las guerras
Vamos a darnos la mano pa' que haya paz en la tierra.

Guerra por la paz
(Words and music by Pedro Rivera, recorded by Rivera on his Guerra por la Paz [2003] album)

I am going to sing to you, gentlemen, with sadness and pain
What is happening in my national soil
Was has been unleashed against the nation of Iraq

Because of terrorism and of so many attempts
Of our twin towers only the memory remains
Thousands of our brothers/sisters remain  buried there

A cruel and tyrannous man named Saddam Hussein
Has submitted his people to how he imposes his law
They have vile poverty, and him living like a king

Spoken: For what do I want money if I cannot spend it?
Now they have made me a citizen when they were going to bury me
My family with their tears have watered my grave.

They are the heroes of the war, who died with honor
Defending their flag with pride and bravery
Now after their death they are part of this country

Jose Gutierrez is one, orphaned of father and mother
Of Jesus Alberto Suarez, how his parents have cried
Jose Garibay, Jalisco remembers you with grief

Why do these things happen that destroy our lives?
How I ask God that he end these wars
Let's help each other so that there can be peace on Earth.

Translation ©2003 Elijah Wald

La crónica de un cambio

Los Tigres' Uniendo Fronteras CD includes a Chicano pride hit, "Somos Más Americanos," as well as this excellent song about the Fox administration by Paulino Vargas. This song is more complex and probing than most contemporary news corridos, a challenge to Fox to back up his promises of change. Paulino is, to my taste, the most poetic and intricate writer in the field, and it is worth learning Spanish just to follow the twists and turns of his wordplay. (Incidentally, any suggestions on better translations of this lyric are much appreciated; I obviously ran into quite a few problems.)
La crónica de un cambio
by Paulino Vargas (T.N. Ediciones Musicales/Paulino Musical [BMI])
recorded by Los Tigres del Norte on "Uniendo Fronteras" (Fonovisa CD 6145)

Llegó una cuerda bien torcida y trajó el cambio
Y es que al obrero no le alcanza ya el salario
Al campesino siempre lo han bocabajeado
Unos señores que controlan el agrario

Vamos a ver introductores de ganado
a como venden y a como le estan pagando
porque de plano me vuelvo vegetariano
Me tienen harto con su carne de caballo

Ay si la suerte te protege y compras coche,
Los tecolotes no te dejan pa'l cigarro
Y el fobaproa se lo estan cobrando al pueblo
que poca enjundia de todos los diputados

Los carros chuecos un respiro al marginado
Porque los nuevos jamás podran alcanzarlos
Las armadoras ponen el grito en el cielo
Porque sus lujos es urgente devaluarlos

Los que controlan a Petróleos Mexicanos
Van a Las Vegas como ricos potentados
Se lo merecen ó ¿la plaza la compraron?
Ora, mi zorro, ¿cuando aplicamos el cambio?

En los teléfonos es grave el espionaje
Los celulares mas piratas que un tal Morgan
Y esas tarjetas que bien clonan esos tranzas
Pasan la cuenta al anuncio mas cercano

Hoy se dio el cambio, brindemos con coca-cola
Porque los buenos ahora son de azúl y blanco
Si calzas botas y te agencias a un establo
Sigue la flecha y llegarás a diputado.

The Chronicle of a Change
by Paulino Vargas (T.N. Ediciones Musicales/Paulino Musical [BMI])
recorded by Los Tigres del Norte on "Uniendo Fronteras" (Fonovisa CD 6145)

A very twisted rope came, and brought the change
And the worker can no longer live on his salary
They have always ground the campesino's face in the dirt
Certain gentlemen who control the countryside

We are going to see the livestock dealers
The way they sell and the way they are paid,
Because I am rapidly becoming a vegetarian
I am fed up with their horsemeat.

Oh, if fortune favors you and you buy a car,
The sharks [owls] won't leave you enough for a cigarette,
And they charge the public the fobaproa (1)
How little character all the congressmen have.

Unregistered used cars give marginal people a chance to breath
Because there is no way they can afford the new ones,
The dealers raise a cry to the heavens
Because their luxuries must urgently be devalued.

Those who control Petróleos Mexicanos [the national oil company]
Go to Las Vegas like rich potentates
They deserve it, or did they buy their position?
Now, my fox, when will we put the change in place?

There is serious spying in the telephones, (????)
The cell phones are worse pirates than a certain Morgan (2)
And those cards, how well they create more pitfalls
They pass the charges to the closest advertisement (??)

Today the change has come, let's toast with Coca-cola, (3)
Because the good guys now are blue and white, (4)
If you wear boots and manage to get yourself a stable,
Follow the arrow and you will get to be a congressman.

Translation ©2001 Elijah Wald

(1) Fobaproa is the program to bail out the failed and corruption-ridden Mexican banking system using public funds. (The Mexican version of the American S&L crisis, only much larger.)
(2) A famous English pirate.
(3) Before entering politics, Fox was the Mexican CEO of  Coca-cola.
(4) The colors of Fox's PAN party.

Tragedia en New York

The first 9/11 corrido to be out on CD comes from El As de la Sierra, best known as a hardcore narcocorrido singer in the style of Chalino Sánchez. El As, as far as I know, is still based in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, but seems to have been in Los Angeles, completing work on his latest album, when the attack came. The album is a romantic ranchera collection, his first attempt to distance himself from the corrido trend, but the fact that it was all ready to go gave him the jump on the competition. He quickly added "Tragedia en New York," and got the album out on the streets. The corrido is typical of the LA scene, not getting into heavy politics, but showing earthy patriotism as it recounts the basic events.
Tragedia en New York
(El As de la Sierra)
Recorded by El As de la Sierra,
on Titan Records 9908)

La guerra ya comenzó
En los Estados Unidos,
Y miren como empezó,
Con aviones dirigidos
A esas torres tan hermosas
El terrorismo ha surgido.

No me quisiera acordar
De imágenes tan violentas,
Ni me quiero imaginar
En cuanta gente esta muerta,
De luto esta el mundo entero,
Esto es inicio de guerra.

Que mentes tan criminales,
O tal vez sean dequiciados,
¿De qué paises vinieron
Esos planes tan malvados?
Dicen que son Talibanes
Los que están en involucrados.

La primer guerra del siglo,
Señores ya comenzó,
El que organizó el ataque
No sabe en que se metió,
El que resulte culpable,
¡Ay pobrecita nación!

Que planes tan estudiados,
Al secuestrar cuatro aviones,
Con dieciocho terroristas
Hicieron operaciones,
Washington y New York,
El blanco de esos traidores.

Un martes negro señores,
Las ocho quince serían,
Cuando en las torres gemelas
Un avión se estrellaría,
La gente se imaginaba
Que un accidente sería.

La gente de Nueva York,
Sin saber lo que pasaba,
Mirando arder esa torre,
Otro avión se aproximaba,
Como a los quince minutos
Con la otra torre chocaba.

Me da tristeza cantarles,
Pero lo tenía que hacer,
Los que iniciaron la guerra,
Preparense pa' perder,
El país de esos cobardes
Puede desaparecer.

Tragedy in New York
(El As de la Sierra)
Recorded by El As de la Sierra (Titan 9908)

The war already began
In the United States
And look how it began,
With airplanes steered
At those towers so beautiful,
Terrorism has arisen.

I would rather not remember
Such violent images,
Nor do I want to imagine
How many people are dead,
The whole world is in mourning,
This is the start of war.

What criminal minds,
Or perhaps they are insane,
From what countries
Did such evil plans come?
They say that it is the Talibans
Who are involved.

The first war of the century,
Gentlemen, has begun,
Whoever organized the attack
Does not know what he has gotten into
Whoever turns out to be guilty,
Oh, that poor country!

What plans so well studied,
To capture four airplanes,
With eighteen terrorists
They carried out the operation,
Washington and New York,
Targets of those traitors.

A black Tuesday, gentlemen,
It would have been 8:15
When an airplane crashed
Into the twin towers
The people imagined
That it must be an accident.

The people of New York,
Without knowing what had happened,
Watching that tower burn,
Another airplane approached,
And in something like 15 minutes
Crashed into the other tower.

It pains me to sing of it,
But I had to do it,
Those who began the war,
Get ready to lose,
The country of those cowards
Could disappear.

Translation ©2001 Elijah Wald

El terror del siglo

"El terror del siglo," the other 9/11 corrido on the air in LA, is less thorough. Again, it takes no particular position, but just says that the disaster happened and now we are surrounded by danger.

El terror del siglo
by José Guadalupe Paredes
recorded by Grupo Imperio Norteño (Cintas Acuario)

Las predicciones....*,
Ya estaba prognosticado
A los Estados Unidos
En minutos lo enlutaron

Se esperaba cualquier cosa,
Pero no lo que ha sucedido
Famosas torres gemelas
En segundos han caido

Un dia 11 de septiembre
Cuando nadie lo esperaba
Habían sonado las 9:00
El terrorismo llegaba

Miles y miles de humanos
De diferentes naciones
Han quedado cancelados
Por esas crueles acciones

Cuatro aviones estrellaron
Por diferentes lugares
Terrible huella dejaron
Los terroristas cobardes

Ya con ésta me despido,
Pero hay que estar preparado
En los Estados Unidos,
De peligro está rodeado.

*I cannot catch this word, but it seems to refer to early news reports in the Spanish media, which cited apocryphal predictions of Nostradamus foretelling the World Trade Center attack.
The Terror of the Century
by José Guadalupe Paredes
recorded by Grupo Imperio Norteño (Cintas Acuario)

The predictions ......*,
It was already foretold,
In minutes, they dressed
The United States in mourning.

Something was expected,
But not what has happened
The famous twin towers
Fell in seconds.

A 11th of September,
When nobody expected it
It had struck 9:00
When terrorism arrived

Thousands and thousands of people
Of different nations
Have been destroyed
By these cruel acts

Four airplanes crashed
In different locations
They left a terrible trail,
The cowardly terrorists

With this I say farewell,
But one must be prepared,
In the United States,
It is surrounded by danger.

Translation ©2001 Elijah Wald

Bin Laden, el error de la CIA

A more interesting and controversial song has been recorded in northern Mexico, and has provoked several newspaper articles. Written by Rigoberto Cárdenas Chávez, "El Boston de Colima" (pictured at right), it is called "El corrido de Bin Laden, el error de la CIA." As one might expect, it takes a very different view from the songs recorded in Los Angeles. Rather than assuming a patriotic stanpoint, it shows the suspicion with which the whole affair is regarded by many people in the Third World, blaming the CIA for having set the wheels of the tragedy in motion.

This corrido can be heard on line (if you have a fast enough connection), by going to this site.
Bin Laden, el error de la CIA
by Rigoberto Cárdenas Chávez
interpretado por Los Soberanos del Norte

Bill Clinton lo dijo en prensa
Que dio la orden de matarlo
Su Gobierno no cumplió
Y el error están pagando
La graduación con honores
Con traición les ha pagado.

Saben que él es poderoso,
Que tiene mucho dinero
Los Talibanes lo siguen,
Para enfrentarse al mundo entero
Llevan a dios por cobija,
Y se olvidan de su cuerpo.

Por cielo, mar y por tierra,
Su huella están buscando
La CIA de Estados Unidos
A causa del atentado
Bin Laden a ti te culpan
Que la guerra has iniciado.

No soy dios para juzgarte
Pero tendrán tus motivos
Dinero llama dinero
Y a ti te quieren los gringos
Como un tesoro te buscan
Si te encuentran serán ricos.

Nostradamus lo predijo
El dragón ha despertado
Inicios del fin del mundo
Es lo que estamos mirando
El animal más perverso
De la tierra el ser humano.

Por cielo, mar y por tierra
Osama te andan buscando
Bin Laden el terrorista
La CIA te ha preparado
Ese fue el error más grande
Del gobierno americano.
Bin Laden, the CIA's Mistake
by Rigoberto Cárdenas Chávez, alias "El Boston de Colima"
recorded by Los Soberanos del Norte

Bill Clinton said it in the press,
That he gave the order to kill him
His government did not carry it out,
And they are paying for the error
The graduation with honors
Has been paid off with betrayal

They know he is powerful,
That he has a lot of money
The Talibans follow him,
To set themselves against the entire world
They carry God for their shield,
And forget about their bodies

By sky, sea, and ground
They are searching for his trail
The CIA of the United States,
Because of the attack
Bin Laden, they accuse you
Of having begun the war

I am not God, to judge you,
But you must have your reasons
Money calls to money,
And the gringos want you
They are searching for you like a treasure,
And if they find you they will be rich

Nostradamus predicted it,
The dragon has awakened
The beginnings of the end of the world
Is what we are seeing
The most perverse animal
On earth, the human being.

By sky, sea, and land, Osama,
They are looking for you
Bin Laden the terrorist,
The CIA trained you
That was the biggest mistake
Of the American government.

Translation ©2001 Elijah Wald

Corrido de Osama bin Laden

Andrés Contreras, "The Minstrel of the Roads," has been the unofficial bard and corridista of the Zapatista rebellion, and the most consistently radical and funny composer in contemporary Mexico. I devote a chapter of my book to Andrés, though his cassettes are only available from him and at a few street stands (one in front of the cathedral on Mexico City's main Square). An astonishingly prolific composer, he has released over a dozen cassettes in the last few years, covering everything from Mexican politics to the arrest of Pinochet and the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. Generally, though, he writes of worker and peasant struggles in Mexico, and he is generally to be found traveling with one or another group of protesters, keeping their spirits up on marches and picket lines. Typically, he has written the most virulently anti-American of the Osama corridos, applauding the attacks as fair payment for gringo imperialism.

(Ahora vamos para Afganistan, oiga, donde Osama bin Laden y sus bravos mujaedines, acompanados por el Taliban, se enfrentan con un valor singular en un combate muy desigual a los imperios mas poderos del mundo. Esos gringos patones........ [incomprensible] ... Si no matan a bin Laden, malo, y si lo matan peor, porque van a surgir millones como el.)

Alla por Saudi Arabia un valiente hombre nació
Lo que nadie habia hecho, el hacerlo atrevió
En varios lugares a los gringos atacó
Y siempre que lo hizo muchos soldados mató

Aunque es un gran milionario eso nada le importó
Y toda su fortuna a la lucha dedicó
El gobierno americano con el mucho se asustó
Y para matarlo miles de tropas mandó

Osama bin Laden, no te dejes agarrar
Mira que si te atrapan seguro que te han de matar
Tu cabeza tiene precio, muchos lo quieren cobrar
Por todo lo que has hecho no te van a perdonar

(Un saludo para la organización al quaida, hamas, hezbolah, al-fatah y otras que enfrenten con singular gallardia al imperialismo norteamericano y a esos chacales del zionismo israeli, de parte de Andrés Contreras, el juglar de los caminos, de Mexico.)

En una saltamontañas con un frio de la chingada
Tranquilo espera bin Laden a que llegue la anvanzada
Los que se topen con el vivos no regresarán
En una bolsita negra a su paÌs volverán

Ora, gringo criminal, el diablo se te apareció
Hombre de barba y turbante asustote que te dió
Hasta el modito de andar Osama te lo quitó
Y nom·s de oirlo hablar temblorina que te dió

Osama bin Laden, no te dejes agarrar
Mira que si te atrapan seguro te han de matar
Tu cabeza tiene precio, muchos lo quieran cobrar
Por todo lo que has hecho no te van a perdonar

(Mire nomás esos pinches gringos, el miedo que llevan. Van a buscar a bin Laden, pero no van solos. Pidieran ayuda a Rusia, a Ingleterra, a Alemania, a Japon y quien sabe que mas... [el cantante rie] °Aguas con el anthrax y el ébola cabrones! no les vayan a polvear.)

Helicópteros y aviones con potente artilleria
Bombardean al Taliban sea de noche o sea de dia
Muchos miles de soldados los han mandado a buscarlo
Solo que los pobrecitos ruegan a Dios no encontrarlo

DecÌa Osama bin Laden, con millones en la mano
Se los doy al que me ayude a matar americanos
Con mis bravos mujaedines decÌa con voz en cuello
No pierdo las esperanzas de cortarles el pezcuello

George Bush, bastante asustado, le pregunta su mujer
Como le hago con bin Laden que el ya nos paso a torcer
Su mujer se le contestó con bastante disimulo
Vete para Afganistan para que le des el cul...

...pables son esos gringos de todo lo que les pasa
Lo que ellos le han hecho al mundo se lo hicieron en su casa
Y vuelen los bombarderos alla por Afganistan
Andan buscando a bin Laden, pero no lo encontrarán.

(Y como decÌa Doña Lupe, la de la Ley de Herodes, es que Osama no salioómas cabrón que bonito. Ni Francisco Villa, ni Joaquin Murieta, ni Sandino el de Nicaragua mataron tantos gringos como este cabrón. °Ayyyyyy-ha-ha-ha!)
(Now let's go to Afghanistan, listen, where Osama bin Laden and his brave mujahadins, accompanied by the Taliban, oppose themselves with singular bravery, in very unequal combat, to the most powerful empires in the world. Those bigfooted gringos . . . [unintelligible]. . . If they don't kill bin Laden, bad, and if they do kill him, worse, because millions like him will arise!)

Over there in Saudi Arabia a brave man was born
That which no one had done, he dared to do it
In various places he attacked the gringos
And every time he did it he killed many soldiers

Although he is a great millionaire that did not matter to him
And he dedicated all of his fortune to the struggle
The American government was very frightened by him
And sent thousands of troops to kill him.

Osama bin Laden, don't let yourself be caught
Look, if they catch you they are sure to kill you
There is a price on your head, many want to win it
For all that you have done they will not forgive you

(A greeting to the Al Queida organization, to Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Fatah and others that oppose themselves with singular gallantry to North American imperialism and to the jackals of Zionism, from Andrés Contreras, the Minstrel of the Roads, from Mexico.)

In a saltamontañas, in ass-freezing cold
Bin Laden tranquilly awaits the arrival of the advance
Those who run up against him will not return alive
They will go back to their country in a black bag

Listen, gringo criminal, the devil has appeared to you
A man in a beard and turban has given you a terrible fright
Even your way of walking Osama has taken from you
And just to hear him talk gives you the shakes.

Osama bin Laden, don't let yourself be caught
Look, if they catch you they are sure to kill you
There is a price on your head, many want to win it
For all that you have done they will not forgive you

(Just look at those damn gringos, the fright they've taken. They are going looking for bin Laden, but they're not going alone. Theyíve asked for help from Russia, England, Germany, Japan, and who knows where else . . . (laughter) Watch out for anthrax and ebola, you bastards! lest they pulverize you. . .)

Helicopters and airplanes, with powerful artillery
Bombard the Taliban both by day and by night
Many thousands of soldiers have been sent to look for him
Only, the poor guys pray to God that they don't find him

Said Osama bin Laden, with millions in his hand
I will give them to those who help me to kill Americans
With my fierce Mujahedins he said with his voice in his throat
I am not giving up hope of cutting their necks

George Bush, pretty frightened, asks his wife
What will I do with bin Laden, since he has already twisted us
His wife answered him, with some disimulation
Go off to Afghanistan, to give him your as...

. . .those gringos are responsible for everything that happens to them
That which they have done to the world has been done to them in their house
And the bombers fly over in Afghanistan
Looking for bin Laden, but they will not find him

(And as Doña Lupe said, the one in La Ley de Herodes, Osama came out as pretty as he was a tough bastard [poor translation, Iím afraid]. Not Fransciso [Pancho] Villa, nor JoaquÌn Murieta, nor Sandino, the one in Nicaragua, killed as many gringos as this bastard. Ayyyy-ha-ha-ha!

Translation ©2002 Elijah Wald

Links to articles on topical corridos:

"Mexican Songs Chronicle Attacks" an article on Rigoberto Cárdenas and the Sept. 11 corridos, from the North Carolina Herald Times.