Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sensationalistic Media and Its Effect on Tranquil San Miguel

10 September 2010

In a heartfelt piece about sensationalistic American media and its effect on the residents of San Miguel de Allende, travel writer Laura Fraser writes:

There is no doubt that there has been horrible violence in Mexico due to drug wars between warring factions. But that violence has, for the most part, been restricted to “entre ellos,” or between them, the drug factions. The violence has also been restricted to certain parts of the country—and San Miguel de Allende is not one of them.

San Miguel de Allende is so safe that I feel comfortable walking around by myself at 2:00 in the morning. I read the police blotter, which mainly consists of a handful of incidents of drunken conduct, domestic violence, and breaking into cars. That’s fairly tame by American standards.

Fraser goes on to talk about the news story that has hurt, in particular San Miguel de Allende, the most – a Dateline piece about a “gringo” that was kidnapped and tortured.  The story has caused the usual vacationers and expats to stay away from San Miguel this year, significantly hurting San Miguel’s economy and residents.  What Dateline failed to properly reveal was the kidnapped man’s shady ties with crime.  He was a victim of “entro ellos,” not random and rampant violence.

Read the compelling, full article here.

Our Neighbors, the Real Mexico

8 September 2010

Steve Blow writes in a recent article in the Dallas Morning News called “Opening our eyes to the real Mexico,” that “As neighbors, we really need to get better acquainted.”  He is talking about his fellow Texans.  When people ask him where he vacationed this summer, his reply – Mexico City – receives raised eyebrows or “air sucked through teeth,” as he puts it.  He doesn’t blame them, considering they are simply reacting to the headlines these days – of which people from Texas are particularly susceptible to.  He says:

And if headlines here were all I had to go on, I would probably think of it as a land of unmitigated savagery, too…We think of Mexico as a country under siege. And in a few specific places, I suppose it is. But in the vast, vast majority of places, life goes on at its own sweet pace.  Mothers and daughters still walk arm-in-arm along shopping streets. Young couples cuddle on park benches.

This is the Mexico he hopes Americans will become more acquainted with.  His political standpoint is that “A more complete picture of Mexico could help us reach common-sense compromises” regarding immigration reform.  His personal standpoint is that missing out on a country he calls “kind, cultured, modern, ancient, delicious, exciting, fascinating, mysterious, inviting, vibrant” based on a few violent areas, would be a shame.

Mexico v. Canada

3 September 2010
Chichén Itzá, a famous archaeological site of the Maya civilization, helps make the Yucatán peninsula a popular Mexican tourist destination.

Chichén Itzá, a famous archaeological site of the Maya civilization, helps make the Yucatán peninsula a popular Mexican tourist destination (Photo by JimG944).

After a look at some recent statistics, the Economist’s Gulliver blog for business travelers announces that parts of Mexico are safer than Canada!  It’s true – the Yucatán, a popular tourist destination for its Mayan history and culture – has a murder rate of 1.7, slightly lower than Canada’s average of 2.1.

Writing from Mexico City, the blogger says the statistics help provide a more accurate perspective of Mexico, much different from the perspective that is so often covered in the news.  He says:

A third of Mexico’s states hover around 5 murders per 100,000, about the same rate as the United States. Another third are around 8 per 100,000, similar to Thailand, for instance. A handful of states have rates in the teens—like Russia, say—and a couple are in the low twenties, a little lower than Brazil’s average. Then you have the chaos of the four very violent states, which sends the average soaring.

Read more here.