The beginning of 2011 saw a return to media fanfare about violence in Mexico amidst more drug trafficking related deaths. And with the sensationalism comes another round of voices who want to speak to the Mexico that they know and have experienced. One of those voices, writer Edith Wilson, addressed the controversy in The Washington Post at the beginning of March, speaking earnestly about the southeastern Mexican town of Merida, where she recently traveled for a month.
Merida, the capital of the Yucatan state with a population of one million and famous for its Mayan ruins, provides an example of an average city recognizable in any American state. Violent crime is low, free WiFi can be found in public parks, and families gather in the streets for cultural events, like a recent festival which brought in Colombian rock star Juanes to play an outdoor concert. Says Wilson:
“I just spent a month wandering its clean, civilized streets, often by myself, and I’ve never felt safer or met nicer people. This is the Mexico rich in social capital, tradition and culture that we should cherish and defend, and that is almost blotted out amid news of drug violence.”
In her article, Wilson praises what she experienced in Merida – a wealth of social capital and rich culture, “where the community, rich and poor, gathers in public; and where pride in local culture feeds adherence to values that serve the needs of all” – and urges readers to not be blinded by the Mexico they see in the media.
You can read the full article, here.