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tamartin

Jan 23, 2008, 1:34 PM

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Scared of Mexico

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Hi All,
I have been lurking here for years enjoying and absorbing your great information.
My wife and I have bus traveled much of Mexico in years past and always had a great time.
Three years ago we drove from our winter home here in Edinburg,Tx. to Mazatlan and down the coast to Salina Cruz. Then across to the east coast and back to Texas. We had such a great time that after a month we drove to Zacatecas,back to the pacific coast,north to Mazatlan and back home. Ended up driving 6500 miles without a single problem even with my rotten high school spanish.
We plan to drive the west coast again in the next couple of days but have a problem because of all the border violence in our area. We for some reason that we cannot define, have become nervous about traveling the west coast because of crime potential. It makes no sense because it was a beautiful drive with great people. We know that reporters love to inflate issues and suspect that it is still a safe and pleasant trip.
Would like to hear responses to our concerns from those of you who have actual recent travel there.
Thanks in advance.



Brian

Jan 23, 2008, 2:59 PM

Post #2 of 17 (13957 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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Rather than soliciting anecdotal evidence from Mexico aficionados, why not start reading the Mexican papers online? Many feel that the US press is xenophobic and inclined to exaggerate incidents that occur in Mexico especially as they affect tourists. That said, I believe President Calderon who just yesterday said that the Mexican economy would have to take second place in his attention to the war on the drug cartels. I doubt he was kidding. And for those who say that folks will be just fine if they stay away from unsavory people and places,...tell it to the kindergarten kids in Tijuana who were evacuated during the bloody shootout last week.

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 23, 2008, 3:04 PM)


raferguson


Jan 23, 2008, 4:32 PM

Post #3 of 17 (13942 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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I suggest that you do a little research, and figure out where to avoid. The border towns are always a possible risk.

I was astounded to read about a shootout in Zacatecas that killed seven police officers, as I thought Zacatecas was a quiet backwater place. The last time seven US police officers were killed in one incident in the was in the 1800s. As far as I recall, no bystanders were injured.

That said, I don't think that the risk is all that high. You are more likely to die or be hurt in an auto accident than by stray gunfire.

I vote for reasonable care, avoid night travel, avoid areas that have a bad reputation, but go. I tend to lean to the side of safety, but think that the current situation is more likely to affect people somehow connected to the drug trade or fighting the drug trade, rather than tourists.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Oscar2

Jan 23, 2008, 6:50 PM

Post #4 of 17 (13924 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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November – December 06’ we rented a car for a month and traveled all through Manzanillo, Ajijic, Guad, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Queretaro, and San Miguel Allende, without one incident and we even traveled at night within the cities visited.

Highway driving at night was not done intentionally but if I remember correctly, night did fall a couple of times just before we hit our destinations without incident. Like most, we do feel most comfortable driving the carreteras during daylight hours and try to make a point to do so.

I’m sure most of us value, if not treasure our existence. The adventures you speak of in your lives, comes through and sparks fond memories of our similar experiences. It never would have happened had we recoiled and found sanction in our fears and stood home nursing those fears.

The 6500 miles you traveled in Mexico, I’m sure is a unforgettable dream come true. It’s everything and certainly more which tugs heart strings, and makes dreams come alive. Like a tempest in a pending storm, alarmist find comfort in knowing you stood home, safe and sound listening to the crackling of the fire sitting safely next to them. Laugh


Your excursion is telling you two are your own persons and have done what brings a smile to your faces when you now think of Mexico. I can identify. Whenever you are ready, have a wonderful trip and beuna suerte


robrt8

Jan 26, 2008, 1:44 PM

Post #5 of 17 (13827 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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You should expect the same conditions as you did three years ago. There's a lot of terrible news that Brian can pick up on the Mexican media. You will not experience this.
It's terrible how terror can affect us (me included). They're still having my four-year-old take his shoes off to enter a plane more than six years after 9/11.
Have a wonderful trip.


tonyburton


Jan 26, 2008, 3:02 PM

Post #6 of 17 (13816 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Scared of Mexico

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Ah-ha - but at least he was wearing shoes! Our 19-year-old daughter was ordered to remove her rubber flip-flops at an airport in Canada before boarding a flight to the U.S.!!


ricksca

Jan 28, 2008, 9:54 AM

Post #7 of 17 (13739 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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Judy and I drove from McAllen to Belize two years ago. Not only did we not have any problems, but we were treated with utmost respect by everyone (including the numerous stops by Federales at check points). Can s__t happen? Of course, but I'll take Sayulita over Detroit (Oakland, The Bronx, etc) anyday.


colibri1

Feb 4, 2008, 7:56 PM

Post #8 of 17 (13620 views)

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Re: [Brian] Scared of Mexico

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replying to the quote... " tell it to the kindergarten kids in Tijuana etc." Well after all, they WERE in TJ. I too live in a border town, Puerto Penasco, Sonora. Luckily we're a little different here, for some reason...maybe because we're actually 100km south of the border and Puerto was only a sleepy fishing village until qbout 15 years ago. The Gringo and Mexican cultures are much more integrated here than most border towns. We've prided ourselves in being a wonderful "salad bowl". Anyway, all of us gringoes feel very safe here...much more so than in our USA hometowns. Aside from that, my Hubby & I have logged many miles in Mexico over our 8 years of residence here,on buying trips for my art gallery and our home-building business, scouring and searching back-roads. we've had nothing but GOOD experiences. Yes we have to be careful WHICH back-roads...
But, it's not for the faint of heart.
iViva Mexico!
M


Brian

Feb 5, 2008, 4:47 AM

Post #9 of 17 (13603 views)

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Re: [colibri1] Scared of Mexico

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I question just how "assimilated" gringos are in Mexico especially those who relate that the increase in crime is exaggerated and that they personally have never been victims in their years of living and/or touring there. Since when is it all about them? It is the height of narcissism and an insult to the Mexican people who, if you read the newspapers in Spanish, rate the "inseguridad" as being the biggest focus of their day to day living. President Calderon recently went on record as saying the effort to root out corruption and the drug cartels is higher on his list of priorities than the economy. Is crime anywhere on the radar of any of the current candidates for the presidency of the United States?

Nevertheless, comparisons are odious. Oakland, CA and Detroit, MI are two American cities with very high rates of violent crime. For residents of nearby communities Carmel and Grosse Point to claim that CA and MI are safe based upon their experience would be absurd. So, yes, Puerto Penasco is safer than Rosarito Beach right now. Will it always be that way? I hope so. But just a few short years ago it was unheard of for foreigners to be the target of kidnappings. Today, the huge number of se vende signs on the homes of gringos in the seaside campos attest to how bad the problem has become.


(This post was edited by Brian on Feb 5, 2008, 5:22 AM)


jerezano

Feb 5, 2008, 1:39 PM

Post #10 of 17 (13550 views)

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Re: [Brian] Scared of Mexico

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Hello,

I wish Brian would enter a location where he is living into his profile. If he is living along the West coast of Northern Baja California, then he has legitimate reasons to worry about crime against persons. Reports from there have recently become frightening. If I were living there, I would seriously think of moving and I too would have my house on the market. The reports from there indicate that armed gangs are indeed attacking, raping, and pilaging people ranging from solitary surfers to comfortably esconced residents of many years. That type of crime does not yet seem to be ocurring in other parts of México. Perhaps it will, but of course the rest of us in our own little nests can only hope not so.

Personally, in my own little backwoods town of Jerez I am not worried, even though a narco-federal shootout did happen here last December in which as I remember 2 policemen died and a third disappeared, while the well-organized platoon (10 narcos armed with machine gun,
automic rifles, and a grenade launcher) got away with their three rescued team members who had been arrested earlier in a kidnapping and were being transported to the State Prison near Zacatecas city.

The thing that worries me, and others here is not that we will have more such shoot-outs or kidnappings but that the team of narcos was formed and in-place for the ambush in little less than an hour-and-a-half after the initial arrest of the three kidnappers. That indicates that the group was not flown in from known trouble centers but was formed from local hidden residents. This shows that the narco presence has penetrated into even as yet peaceful areas. So it is quite evident that the narco problem will not be easily eliminated.

Yet, this shoot-out differed in all aspects from what is ocurring there in BajaCNorte. There the attacks are random, and against all classes of citizens. That is not a narco war there. That is an out-of-control situation with thieves, robbers and killers without conciense. Again if Brian lives there, I would recommend he move immediately. I would also recommend he move here to Jerez. Here the criminal element might run over him with a bicycle, a car, a horse, or a drunk might throw a bottle at somebody else and hit him accidently. But, oh well, life does have its risks.

Adiós. jerezano.


robrt8

Feb 5, 2008, 6:19 PM

Post #11 of 17 (13525 views)

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Re: [Brian] Scared of Mexico

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I haven't seen any posts recently saying crime in Mexico is exaggerated.
Aren't we a bunch of gringos here? It IS all about us. At least here in "Traveling Mexico".
With your great knowledge of crime reported by the Mexican media, Brian, why don't you start a blog and perhaps make a map showing all crimes, so we can skip those streets. Maybe you can also give advice to those who are stuck, still in love with Mexico.


Oscar2

Feb 5, 2008, 7:23 PM

Post #12 of 17 (13515 views)

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Re: [colibri1] Scared of Mexico

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Good Mexico experiences such as yours, mine and many against the massive weight of media spin doctor's who’s main purpose is too sell, sell and sell more of anything and everything to keep public interest high and advertisers happy, is really no surprise in Mexico or any other place on this planet.

Editors know and thrive on blood and guts, which polarize, undermine, and have always been a top seller. Moreover, constant spooning of blood and guts promotes fear mongers who expectedly become media robots running around parroting similar squeals of fear.

Unfortunately, some are so entrenched in their own addictive fears and beliefs that they fall into a category of epidemic recruiters trying their utmost to infect even the best of heart and intention. It’s insane and sad and some unfortunately, and sometimes unknowingly fall into promoting and creating even more of what they so vehemently resist and have come out the other side as devout alarmists.

I have faith and belief that with most of us being dragged through the white-hot emotional coals since 911, by now, I and most of us need a break. Terrorist, boogeymen, and nail biting episodes of fear injections can all go straight to Hades.

Taking back our lives and being aware of who we are and who we always have been gives way to better days, unless you sadly dance to the squeals of those already dead and locked in their house of fear.

Enjoy Mexico; many of us have had wonderful life experiences there. Caution: Beware of topos and especially mongers.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Feb 5, 2008, 11:28 PM)


normamc288

Feb 6, 2008, 8:09 AM

Post #13 of 17 (13477 views)

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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I am moving to La Pesca Mexico February 29. The majority of my friends here in Kingsville TX are trying desperately to scare me away from Mexico. I have been travelling and living in Mexico for 35 years. I lived in Melaque and also in Tecolutla and my car has broken down more times than I can say. There have always been kind people, mostly men, who stop not only to help me but also to fix my car. One man drove my car, the power steering was gone, and I drove his truck, 4 hours till we got to the repair shop. We were way out in the mountains.

What I tell my friends is: Go and sit in front of your local news station in the USA and have paper and pen with you. Write down all the rapes, murders, child abuse and on and on. In 5 min. you can fill the pages.

When I left Tecolutla a year ago and drove to Austin, TX I immediately locked my car door. I don't recommend leaving your doors unlocked in Mexico but I have.

Anyway, I recommend you take your trip. Enjoy your life. I plan to.

Norma


Gayla

Feb 6, 2008, 6:09 PM

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Re: [jerezano] Scared of Mexico

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FYI --

Here is an article from today's edition of the San Diego Union/Tribune - http://www.signonsandiego.com/...-9999-1m6kidnap.html

The article makes several points. 1) The vast majority of victims are Mexicans (living on eithe rside of the border) 2) tourists are not being randomly targeted and 3) that kidnapping is big business in the northern Baja corridor and a lucrative source of income, not not typically related to the narcotrafficantes. But read the descriptions of what happens to the people that are kidnapped, not pleasant at all.

Crime happens on both sides of the border and at some point in each of our lives it's probably going to touch us. There are places in the U.S. where the crime and people are much worse than in Mexico... and vice versa.


robrt8

Feb 6, 2008, 8:10 PM

Post #15 of 17 (13407 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Scared of Mexico

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That article was interesting. Thanks Gayla. You should have posted this as a new thread instead of replying here.
I haven't found until now how many actually cross in TJ. Forty million a year. Amazing.


Gayla

Feb 7, 2008, 6:43 AM

Post #16 of 17 (13379 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Scared of Mexico

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I can repost the link over on the General Topics board later today. The SD/TJ border crossing is - and has been for a lot of year - the busiest border crossing in the world. I posted an article on Sunday on the General board about the economic impact the border crossing issues are presenting for both cities right now. That was a pretty interesting article too because it quantified the impact in terms to dollars and jobs for both cities. The kidnapping article above is only 1 of several that have appeared over the past few months about the kidnapping trend. The SD Reader did a huge article on kidnapping and crime in Baja last year that was pretty interesting. That article had sort of a quasi tabloid feel to is because Reader has a tendency to be a little grittier, a little less sanitized in their reporting as they appeal to a younger, more liberal crowd than do the local newspapers and the examples it used were pretty graphic. The crime that's happening along the norther Baja corridor and border are very real, but I don't think they are reflective of what's happening in much of the rest of Mexico. The narcotrafficantes have provided a good model for violence and extorting money - I think jerezano and his neighbors are rightly concerned - that has been picked up by enterprising, and probably marginalized individuals, and turned into an unfortunate, but thriving, business practice.


Oscar2

Feb 7, 2008, 11:58 AM

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Re: [tamartin] Scared of Mexico

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As far back as I can remember, media sensationalistic spikes, instant replays and horror flash backs have and will continue to plague the airways and newsstands. You’d think with time they’d sense overkill but saturated human conditioning endorses an increase in appetites for this kind of garbage too a disgusting level.

Due in part to lack of or rather opposing voices, sanity is an uphill battle in a crazier and crazier world. Normally I for one dislike and at times abhor even giving credence too “in your face” media violence, why, because it has and will always be there and quite frankly I for one, don’t need it any more.

Poisoning peace is a direct derivative of listening, digesting and “becoming” unconsciously what you live and listen too. If at one point in your life you can step back long enough to witness this firestorm, maybe, just maybe, “real awareness” will guide us in directions away from and/or opposing this madness.

Not being a mathematician, nor do I wish to impart more attention to the garbage we are fed, but when it comes to doling out facts, spin-doctors intentionally utilize statistics to make us believers.

The article someone pulled for consumption and someone else cleverly sighted, 40 million cross TJ borders from California annually, “interesting.” Yes, this is interesting indeed, because out of those, which have crossed into Mexico, maybe 4 or less, out of 22 traumatized were murdered last year.

Interesting but “not mentioned nor not worth mentioning” California (37 million) alone, the same state they cross into Mexico from, experienced a whopping 2,485 murders in 2006. Figuratively speaking, if you divide the annual California homicide rate of 2,485 by 4 Mexico’s TJ crossing homicides annually, it would take those same 40 million people crossing TJ, about “620 years” to equal the murders in California in just “one year” alone. Statistically if you will, no wonder many can close their eyes, smile and say Mexico is my paradise!


The human condition has always been the same and can cause wholesale death count to rise with the advent of newer more lethal killing machines. Why make it worse by doing exactly what I shouldn’t be doing and giving it the airtime peace of mind could instead use allot more of.

We know numbers are a tool to wean simple minds and simple people (which we all really are) in ways that they will try to sell snow to Eskimos if they could. As for visiting, living and finding your dreams in such a land as Mexico, why not, go for it. “Awareness” makes a great road map.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/cacrime.htm

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Feb 7, 2008, 9:44 PM)
 
 
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