Monthly Archives: March 2010

Is Mexico Safe? It All Depends on Where You’re Going!

23 March 2010

The Seattle Times ran an article yesterday asking the question:  how safe is travel to Mexico?  The article points out what many other articles fail to mention: the areas of concern are not the beach resorts and historical cities that most Americans visit, not to mention, almost a million Americans currently live in various parts of the country (many of them retirees).

The article also points out that unlike typical alarmist travel warnings, the U.S. State Department’s March travel advisory for Mexico is targeted at specific towns, and not at the country as a whole:

Too often in the past, these types of government alerts have taken a broad-brush approach, simply advising against travel to a country as a whole. What’s different about this warning, issued March 14 following the shooting in Ciudad Juarez of three people with ties to the American consulate, is its level of detail, and the way it rightly targets only towns where drug-related violence has been rampant.

The author of the article, who has just returned from seven days in Mazatlan and Sayulita, says people should follow through with their Mexico travel plans, provided they use common sense precautions such as staying in tourist areas, and avoiding border towns and areas where drug dealing might occur.

Away from the U.S. border, Mexico is peaceful, beautiful

22 March 2010

Crowds around La Parroquia in historic San Miguel de Allende, December 2009 (Photo by Mark Mitchell)

We were very pleased to see this op/ed column on Sat, March 21, 2010, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:  “Away from the U.S. border, Mexico is peaceful, beautiful.”  This is the situation in San Miguel de Allende, which seems light years away from what’s going on in other parts of Mexico.  Check out this commentary by a recent visitor to San Miguel:

The sub-heading for this commentary is:  “Recent violence has given the country a reputation it doesn’t deserve.”

AP Wire Story (Feb 2010): Mexico Less Deadly Than A Decade Ago

18 March 2010

The Associated Press reported in February that Mexico is one of three countries in the hemisphere that is subject to U.S. travel advisories warning about violence, despite the fact that homicide rates in many Latin American countries are much higher.  The report also points out that Mexico’s homicide rate has fallen and that people are less likely to die from violence than they were ten years ago.  To read the full report, go here.

Linda Ellerbee’s Thoughts on Safety in Mexico

18 March 2010

Beautiful Puerto Vallarta. (Photo by Basilio Briceño)

Journalist Linda Ellerbee’s compelling piece Mexico: One Journalist’s View helps dispel exaggerated media reports of violence in Mexico, while offering an inside perspective to the hype.  The media like to make “noise” she says, while leaving context and critical analysis to the wayside.  From the article:

The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, “Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?” or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

Ellerbee, who has spent a lot of time in Mexico and makes regular visits, says she feels just as safe in her Puerto Vallarta neighborhood as she does in her West Village neighborhood in New York City.  The rest of her piece goes on to describe the Mexico most people know and love – great climate, friendly people, fantastic culture.

The whole article is worth a read.

Mexico’s Violence Seen in Context

16 March 2010

The stories of drug related violence and murder in Mexico that you hear about so often in the news can make the country seem more dangerous than it is.  It’s helpful to look at the statistics in context to other places.  As  Foreign Policy magazine recently pointed out, Mexico’s homicide rate is less than that of another popular tourist destination, Brazil, while Mexico City’s rate was lower than that of Washington, D.C.:

“Mexico’s homicide rate has fallen steadily from a high in 1997 of 17 per 100,000 people to 14 per 100,000 in 2009, a year marked by an unprecedented spate of drug slayings concentrated in a few states and cities, Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said. The national rate hit a low of 10 per 100,000 people in 2007, according to government figures compiled by the independent Citizens’ Institute for Crime Studies.

By comparison, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have homicide rates of between 40 and 60 per 100,000 people, according to recent government statistics. Colombia was close behind with a rate of 33 in 2008. Brazil’s was 24 in 2006, the last year when national figures were available.

Mexico City’s rate was about 9 per 100,000 in 2008, while Washington, D.C. was more than 30 that year.”