Here is an excerpt from Sandra Dibble's article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:
"As Mexican authorities wage war on drug gangs, they have opened a new front: the small shrines and chapels where criminals are said to seek protection from La Santa Muerte, a popular saint not sanctioned by the Catholic Church whose name means Saint Death... Critics say destroying the chapels – with their flickering candles, collection boxes and statues of La Santa Muerte – do little to quell the drug-related violence plaguing Mexico, and violate the freedom of worship guaranteed in Mexico's constitution. Authorities defend their actions as necessary steps to weaken the grip of drug culture on Mexican society that reflects itself through song lyrics, video images and television newscasts, and the shrines where some traffickers worship." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I found this article really interesting, and right away it brought to mind two instances where the shunning of certain "negative" cultural things either didn't work or completely backfired. The first case occurred in Cuba in the early 1500s when slaves were brought from Africa by the Spaniards. They had their own religion - the worship of the Orisha - which was shunned by the very Catholic Spaniards. They were eventually prohibited from practicing their religion and more or less forced to convert to Catholicism. The Africans weren't much interested in that, so they got creative. They renamed all their Orisha gods with the names of Catholic saints to give the impression they were practicing Catholicism, and Santeria was born.
The next example that comes to mind is gangsta rap. This is probably the closest American example to Mexican narcocorridos. It was made popular in the 1980s by performers like Ice-T and N.W.A., and glamorized the American gangster lifestyle. While gangsta rap was never outlawed, the genre (along with heavy metal and other non-popular musical genres) became one of the many targets of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) because of the extensive use of explicit lyrics and references to killing, rape, and other unsavory social practices. Despite efforts towards censorship and the general controversy surrounding gangsta rap, it became the most financially lucrative subgenre of hip-hop.
I understand the Mexican government's reasoning behind the destruction of these shrines and the outlawing of narcocorridos, but in the case of the former, I think the action might do more harm than good. The freedom of non-criminals to worship their religion as they please is being negatively affected, and criminals are still going to create their own private shrines or worship La Santa Muerte wherever they please. I'm concerned that the repercussions of these actions are going to hurt the Mexican government's standing in the eyes of the people at a time when they need the people's support the most.