Posts Tagged violence Writer on the True Victims of Mexico’s Drug Violence

12 July 2012

Travel writer Kyle Ellison recently wrote about his recent trip to Mexico on  Citing travel concerns about Mexico as one of the current hottest topics in North American travel, Ellison felt compelled to rehash the subject after encountering what he calls “crowdsourced ignorance” in talking to others about travel to Mexico.  He writes,

“While I could rattle statistics off from a slew of different sources, the bottom line and the main point which needs to be made is that traveling to Mexico is no more dangerous than living in any major global city. Of the 60 countries I’ve wandered through and after 20+ visits to Mexico, you know where I’ve felt the most in danger (including when I thought I was kidnapped in Borneo)?  When I got lost on the south side of Chicago.”

Ellison’s incense about the common ignorance about safety in Mexico is propelled by what he calls the “real, true victims” of Mexico’s drug violence – the “peace-loving, everyday Mexican citizens who rely on tourism dollars to survive.”  He fondly recaps the highlights of his trip to Mexico, which includes cheap beers, perfect waves, and long conversations with friendly locals.

To read the full article, go here.

Investigation shows U.S. – Mexico Border is Safer than Critics Say

18 July 2011

Despite the bloody picture that many U.S. politicians have painted – a USA Today special analysis found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years, even prior to the U.S. security buildup.  It looks like those famous quotes from U.S. politicians, such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s warning that human skulls were rolling through her state’s deserts, and Rep. John Culberson’s (R-Texas,) claim that violence on the U.S. side of the border was “out of control” run counter to police reports and violent crime statistics.

In fact, the USA Today analysis found that U.S. border cities are statistically safer on average than other cities in their states, and that murder, robbery and kidnapping rates were all on the decline. The analysis drew from more than 10 years of detailed crime data reported by more than 1,600 local law enforcement agencies in four states, as well as federal crime statistics and interviews along the border from California to Texas.

As USA Today points out, the appearance of an out-of-control border region continues to have  wide-ranging effects including:

Stalling efforts to pass a national immigration reform law, fueling stringent anti-immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, and increasing the amount of federal tax dollars going to build more fencing and add security personnel along the southwestern border.

San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez said some of the money going to border security should instead be going to expanding the existing ports of entry and adding new ones to allow the state’s already-hurting economy a chance to recover. But, he said, the image of a lawless border makes it impossible to even discuss the topic.

“When you’ve got the national rhetoric about illegal immigration, you can never get to a conversation about legal immigration,” Alvarez said. “Effective border crossings and better regional economics don’t sell newspapers.”

To read the full article, go here.

A Sobering but Fair Take on the Safety Debate

28 June 2011

Former Mexican resident and educator Allan Wall gives a fair take on the Mexican safety debate at Mexidata, acknowledging Mexico’s violence problem and the sobering statistics of deaths in border towns like Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. He also acknowledges that more Americans were killed in cartel related violence in 2010 (reportedly 108) than in years past, and that those numbers may be under-counted due to reporting complications such as dual citizenship and people who simply disappear.  However, he makes the point that, of those killed, many are involved in criminal or cartel-related activity – and that overall, the number of deaths does not quite match up to reports of rampant violence or of the whole country being in chaos.  Says Wall:

Let’s say for the sake of argument that up to 300 Americans die annually in Mexico.  Each one of those deaths is a tragedy.  But 300 deaths would still be a fraction of the estimated 15 million Americans who visit Mexico annually.  So statistically, the chances of an American tourist being killed in Mexico are not very high at all.

Wall urges Americans to make up their own minds about whether to travel to Mexico or not, but to make an informed decision.  He recommends the U.S. Travel Advisory as a fair and reliable source, and says, “In any city you visit, it makes a difference as to what part of town you are in, and in what sorts of activities you are engaged.”

Read the full article here.

In Perspective: Safety in the U.S. Versus Mexico

31 May 2011

There’s been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico, very little of it bothering to note that Mexico is a huge country with thirty-some states and that a) almost all of that violence is narco-related and b) you can count the number of tourists affected on one hand.

Here is another interesting article that provides needed context to violence statistics in Mexico, as well as compares safety statistics between Mexico and the U.S.  The official number of 111 U.S. citizens who were killed in Mexico last year may seem scary at first, but this was out of the almost 8 million U.S. citizens who visited Mexico last year.  In comparison, Boston, Las Vegas and Orlando also had 111 murders last year, and almost 1,000 U.S. citizens were killed in Puerto Rico (a country that gets far less press).  The statistic becomes eve more grounded once other facts are presented, namely, that a third of those 111 murders happened in just 2 cities and almost all of them were involved “in illicit vocations, usually the trafficking of guns, drugs, or people across the border.”

For more reasoning and statistics, read the full article here.

Calderon Addresses Violence in Mexico with Travel Weekly

8 March 2011

In another interview, this time with Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann, President Felipe Calderon addressed violence in Mexico, and what Mexico is doing to keep tourists safe.  Once again saying that violence is concentrated in certain areas of Mexico, Calderon also pointed out that other countries have higher homicide rates than Mexico, even though they don’t get as much press.

Said Calderon: “Most of the troubles we have are with gangs fighting other gangs. Mexico has more than 2,500 municipalities, and 80% of the problems are focused in 80 municipalities. Consider the rate of homicides per 100,000 people. Mexico has about 15 homicides per 100,000 people. Jamaica has about 60. Guatemala and El Salvador are closer to 70. And even some cities in United States, like Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New Orleans, have more homicides per 100,000 people than Mexico.”

Calderon told Weissmann that in addition to fighting all types of organized crime, government officials are paying close attention to popular travel destinations, and any incidents involving tourists are attended to at the federal level.

Read the full interview here.

Former News Reporter Reflects on the Media and Mexico

2 November 2010

From his personal blog, California-native Dan Adams reports back from a recent 3 day journey – from Palm Springs to his home in Puerta Vallarta.  Adams recounts the 1471.2  mile journey: “Everywhere we went on this trip, and now that we are back home, we encountered life as we have known it for years in Mexico. People living their lives without fear.”  During his 24 hours and 50 minutes on the road, he witnessed a heavy presence of police – “Federales” – patrolling the highways, citing that there were nearly as many patrol cars as there were passenger vehicles.  Other than patrol cars and cargo trucks, the trip was smooth sailing and free of incident.

A former evening news broadcaster in the Sacramento, Calif. area, Adams is now retired and living in Puerta Vallarta.  His insightful reflections about his experience as a news reporter and the current sensationalistic news cycle of violence in Mexico, gives the 24-cycle news-viewer some great food for thought.

When I was a reporter and was dispatched to a “disaster” scene, we would try to find the best visual example of that particular disaster and interview those people hardest hit by it. If a fire swept through 100 homes in San Diego, we would show street after street of burned out structures with only chimneys standing and talk with those left homeless. Naturally, we didn’t show that the 100 homes lost represented a little tiny fraction of all the homes in San Diego. Still, the perception was that all of San Diego was on fire and the entire town was devastated. The same is true of what is happening in Mexico. Yes, there is the drug violence, and yes there are some towns and neighborhoods that are best to avoid. But like that little tiny fraction of the homes in San Diego that burned, the drug wars here are impacting a little tiny fraction of a country that remains among the most hospitable for Americans.

After a long journey back, Adams ends his post with the sentiment of many a traveler – “And I am glad to be home.”  Read the full article here.