Take a tour of the barrio most Mexicans won’t visit — if you dare 

MEXICO CITY —Most travel guides would steer you to the historic center of this metropolitan capital, with its grand colonial plaza and Aztec temples, stunning Diego Rivera murals and oh-so-many museums, a visual feast of Mexican heritage.
Yet a few blocks north lies another cultural stronghold, albeit not the kind you’ll find on a tourist map. Even for many city residents, the neighborhood of Tepito is a no-go zone, 72 blocks of Latin America’s biggest black market, a labyrinth of stalls that serve as refuge and home for outcasts: drug dealers, pickpockets, transvestites, thieves and sellers of contraband.
If outsiders venture in to buy marijuana or pirated DVDs, they know they risk a mugging — or worse. No wonder it’s the so-called “barrio bravo,” or fierce neighborhood.
Alfonso Hernandez wants to change that.

Read more
Photo: Alicia Vera for Al Jazeera America

Take a tour of the barrio most Mexicans won’t visit — if you dare 

MEXICO CITY —Most travel guides would steer you to the historic center of this metropolitan capital, with its grand colonial plaza and Aztec temples, stunning Diego Rivera murals and oh-so-many museums, a visual feast of Mexican heritage.

Yet a few blocks north lies another cultural stronghold, albeit not the kind you’ll find on a tourist map. Even for many city residents, the neighborhood of Tepito is a no-go zone, 72 blocks of Latin America’s biggest black market, a labyrinth of stalls that serve as refuge and home for outcasts: drug dealers, pickpockets, transvestites, thieves and sellers of contraband.

If outsiders venture in to buy marijuana or pirated DVDs, they know they risk a mugging — or worse. No wonder it’s the so-called “barrio bravo,” or fierce neighborhood.

Alfonso Hernandez wants to change that.

Read more

Photo: Alicia Vera for Al Jazeera America