Laurisa Sastoque

May 28, 2016. 5:20 A.M.
2500 members of the public forces entered the area.
What they found:
130 underage sexual workers, 508 homeless people,
56 slot machines, 1000 “bazuco” doses,
1 kidnapped victim behind a false wall.

Two alleys in between a police command,
a military garrison and a church, L-shaped:
to the right, a clandestine market of stolen
objects, to the left, taquilleros that trafficked
one dose of bicha for 2000 pesos;
interminable queues. They sold

20 doses per minute, 8 taquillas sold
460 million pesos’ worth. They would command
the homeless to smuggle sacks of 2000-peso
bills out on their mules. Every day was shaped
by weed rolls, bazuco bags. They trafficked
cocaine residues cooked in red gasoline, stolen

bone and brick dust. Lives were stolen:
“The vicio does not spare anyone,” they sold
the idea of a lawless paradise, trafficked
the cheapest drugs. Influence would command
even the curious rich to trade their carre-shaped
watches for a night in an olla, 4000 pesos

for a consumption safehouse, a few pesos
for a prostitute. “El bazuco had stolen
the glow in her eyes and her princess-shaped
shoes when I fell for her. She had been sold
to a taquillero three weeks after her first command—
she lost her teeth but never her beauty. They trafficked

her body.” Through tunnels, they trafficked
victims underground—sapos, worth in pesos
less than the bullets they shot. Taquilleros’ commands
for imprisonment in “torture houses” had stolen
their limbs, their poisoned blood. Remains sold
to be cremated and confined to pill-shaped

bazuco powder. Sometimes the devils in L-shaped
Bronx would hide the vice they trafficked,
the souls they lured, the death they sold,
for annual inspections. But with a few pesos,
they bribed their way into the streets they had stolen
to daze the press and the police commands.

In 2016 public defense authorities dismantled the area.
They hope to build a Cultural District for the city’s people
by 2023, on top of blood-stained demolished walls.

Bazuco (Bicha, Vicio): illegal narcotic substance made from cocaine residues. “Vicio” is more specific to the addiction that it causes.
Taquilla: points of drug sale within El Bronx, run by “taquilleros.”
Olla: clandestine living spaces surrounding El Bronx that housed consumers in deplorable conditions.
Sapo: translates literally to “frog”, figuratively to “snitch.”


Laurisa Sastoque is a member of Helicon’s arts staff, and a first-year from Bogotá , Colombia, studying English and History. Her passions include discovering new music, finding cool places in the city and failing at following YouTube recipes.