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jennifer rose

Jun 3, 2008, 8:15 AM

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Violence in Mexico

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The news is abuzz with reports of violence in Mexico. You know, the drug wars du jour. Those with history living and visiting in Mexico have seen these waves before. Now that violence is the new black, have your travel plans changed? For those who live in Mexico, have the reports of violence changed the way you live? What do you tell those who aren't in Mexico about your take on the news?



Ed and Fran

Jun 3, 2008, 10:08 AM

Post #2 of 49 (7471 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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For those who live in Mexico, have the reports of violence changed the way you live?

Nope. Maybe we're just lucky that northern Veracruz doesn't seem to be a hotbed of violence.


What do you tell those who aren't in Mexico about your take on the news?

That our take is that it's blown out of proportion.


But that's just our take on it, since you asked.

Regards

E&F


esperanza

Jun 3, 2008, 10:32 AM

Post #3 of 49 (7462 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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The news is abuzz with reports of violence in Mexico. You know, the drug wars du jour. Those with history living and visiting in Mexico have seen these waves before. Now that violence is the new black, have your travel plans changed? For those who live in Mexico, have the reports of violence changed the way you live? What do you tell those who aren't in Mexico about your take on the news?

In the 18 months since Felipe Calderón took office as Mexico's president, there have been more than 4,100 drug-related executions. The dead include high-up cartel chiefs, top-of-the-ladder police officers (including the acting chief of Mexico City's police department), neighborhood drug dealers, and innocent bystanders. It appears that no one is exempt. On Sunday, June 1, the mayor of Villa Madero, Michoacán, was gunned down while driving home from Morelia.

Read this: http://www.stratfor.com/...y_memo_march_17_2008.

Read this, from May 31 in the NYTimes:
http://www.nytimes.com/...?pagewanted=1&hp

Drug-related violence in Mexico is not new. Fifteen years ago this past May 24, Guadalajara's Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, an outspoken long-time opponent of the cárteles and all drug business, was gunned down and killed by narcotraficantes at the Guadalajara airport. Drug-related violence in Mexico continues to escalate and becomes ever bolder as the financial and power stakes for the drug lords are higher. On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, an unreported high-level drug-related shooting and kidnapping took place here in Morelia, just three blocks from my house. Police helicopters flew overhead for an hour, machine gun-armed officers clinging to the outside struts.

Just a few weeks ago, 34 people, including drug traffickers, police officers both honest and corrupt, and innocent bystanders were assassinated in Mexico's border zones AND interior in one weekend.

It's crucial to understand and read Spanish in order to keep up with the news via Spanish-language newspapers and television.

I respectfully disagree with Ed's post. Mexico is in a state of drug-related siege.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Ed and Fran

Jun 3, 2008, 11:35 AM

Post #4 of 49 (7445 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Violence in Mexico

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I respectfully disagree with Ed's post. Mexico is in a state of drug-related siege.


How can you disagree with my post? Jennifer asked whether we have changed the way we live due to the violence, and I answered that we haven't changed anything. Maybe you have a better take on the way we live than I do.

Her other question was "What do you tell those who aren't in Mexico about your take on the news?". I posted what we say to people north of the border when they ask us. Now you are totally entitled to have a different take on events that we do, but that's what we answer people who ask us.

By the way, you didn't answer either of her questions.

Regards

Ed


Rolly


Jun 3, 2008, 12:22 PM

Post #5 of 49 (7427 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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There have been several shootouts in Torreón just across the river from me. I read about them in the paper, but they have had no effect on my life. I still go to Torreón when I want and have no worries.

I still feel safer here than I did in Los Angeles, and that is what I tell my worried family and friends.

Rolly Pirate


esperanza

Jun 3, 2008, 12:25 PM

Post #6 of 49 (7427 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] Violence in Mexico

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That our take is that it's blown out of proportion.


The above is the sentence with which I respectfully disagree. I think your 'take' is naive, but you're surely entitled to it.

My first post on this topic is what I tell "those who aren't in Mexico" (and even those who are) about the news. It isn't my 'take'. It's what's in the news. 4,100+ drug-related assassinations in 18 months are quite a lot. I believe that's the current tally for five years of US military deaths in Iraq, if a comparison helps show the gravity of Mexico's situation.

And no, the reports of violence haven't changed the way I live. Generally speaking, drug-related violence isn't directed at foreign tourists and retirees or those of us who are Mexican by naturalization. It isn't directed at native Mexicans who aren't involved in some way in drug trafficking. There isn't overt danger in the streets, unless one is part of a small percentage of power and money-hungry narcotraficantes. I thought that was implicit in my earlier remarks. Maybe I wasn't as clear as I intended to be.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Ed and Fran

Jun 3, 2008, 12:48 PM

Post #7 of 49 (7419 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Violence in Mexico

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Jennifer's question was: "What do you tell those who aren't in Mexico about your take on the news?"

Your latest response: "My first post on this topic is what I tell "those who aren't in Mexico" (and even those who are) about the news. It isn't my 'take'. It's what's in the news. "

They know what's in the news, they get to hear about it all the time. She wanted to hear what we tell people up north who, reading about the violence in the news, ask us how we view things down here.


"And no, the reports of violence haven't changed the way I live. Generally speaking, drug-related violence isn't directed at foreign tourists and retirees or those of us who are Mexican by naturalization. It isn't directed at native Mexicans who aren't involved in some way in drug trafficking. There isn't overt danger in the streets, unless one is part of a small percentage of power and money-hungry narcotraficantes. I thought that was implicit in my earlier remarks."

Now that seems closer to our take on things. Oops, maybe I shouldn't use the word "take".


But what stood out in your first post was: "Drug-related violence in Mexico continues to escalate and becomes ever bolder ....... On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, an unreported high-level drug-related shooting and kidnapping took place here in Morelia, just three blocks from my house. Police helicopters flew overhead for an hour, machine gun-armed officers clinging to the outside struts. Just a few weeks ago, 34 people, including drug traffickers, police officers both honest and corrupt, and innocent bystanders were assassinated in Mexico's border zones AND interior in one weekend. .... Mexico is in a state of drug-related siege. "


I don't doubt the figures on deaths due to gang/drug related violence. But it hasn't changed the way we live. Maybe Morelia is a hotbed of violence, but things aren't as out of hand here in Veracruz.

Regards

Ed


robrt8

Jun 3, 2008, 2:11 PM

Post #8 of 49 (7391 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] Violence in Mexico

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I'm in and around TJ quite a bit. Really, if I didn't read the paper I wouldn't "feel" any different than I have for 30 years. A lot of federales around. I see more graffiti, though this seems to be happening all over. People just seem to be going about their lives, at least they do during the day. Kids still go to school. Building projects are still being built. Everyone complains about this and that, just as they always have.
Almost half the murders in Mexico this year have occurred in either TJ or Cd. Juarez.


robrt8

Jun 3, 2008, 4:20 PM

Post #9 of 49 (7365 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Violence in Mexico

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Here's a link a little related to my spiel:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/...-9999-1n2tjarts.html

Maybe Rolly can fix it?


Note from Rolly: To make a link clickable, be sure there is a space immediately after the end of the URL Sometimes it takes two spaces.


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jun 3, 2008, 6:04 PM)


Anonimo

Jun 4, 2008, 3:33 AM

Post #10 of 49 (7301 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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The drug wars are a matter of concern to us, but we haven't changed the way we live. Well, we still prefer not to drive at night, but sometimes we do. Previously, we didn't travel to towns in Michoacán's Tierra Caliente, and we don't plan to start.

A couple of months ago, there were several Army inspection points established temporarily, close to us, Army patrols down our road, and numerous overflights by helicopters where we live out in the campo. There may have been increased patrols by local police, in their pickup trucks, but that wasn't as noticeable.These events awakened in us a sense of concerned awareness but not fear.

Sometimes there are local disputes, apparently unrelated to drugs, which shake up the area. We try to get a clearer picture of those disputes from knowledgeable friends. We don't get involved in any other way.

We tell family and friends back in the U.S. that we are in a relatively safe area. We believe that too, but bad things can happen any where. Life is full of risk.


esperanza

Jun 4, 2008, 7:04 AM

Post #11 of 49 (7276 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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http://www.nytimes.com/.../opinion/04wed1.html

Whether or not we agree that the USA should commit itself to the Mérida Agreement (the plan discussed in the linked article), the writer's statements about the escalating drug violence and the government's impotence in Mexico are accurate.

Anónimo mentioned in his post that he feels safe. I agree, I feel safe and secure in my home, my city, and my travels from state to state in Mexico. I am out and about both day and night.

However, my feeling of safety in no way negates Mexico's current reality.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









bournemouth

Jun 4, 2008, 7:46 AM

Post #12 of 49 (7260 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Violence in Mexico

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I too feel safe where I am but feel very apprehensive about the near term future. Mexico has all the signs of falling into the state that Colombia was in a few years ago. The things we hear about are just the tip of the iceberg. Far more is actually going on and I'm afraid that none of it is positive.


Gayla

Jun 4, 2008, 10:02 AM

Post #13 of 49 (7224 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Violence in Mexico

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Bournemouth, there was a Q&A article in the San Diego Union Tribune on Sunday May 25th with an under secretary of some government agency; he is responsible for a lot of the government foreign policy in Latin America. The interview was in the U/T because the under-secretary was born and raised in San Diego and was back for a visit. It was an interesting article in that the point of view was not as clumsy and draconian as some foreign policy actions have been.

The first question asked was if Mexico was devolving into the same position as Colombia in the 80s and 90s. In his response, the under-secretary addressed the fact that similarities did exist, but then laid out all the differences which were compelling and fairly substantial. A lot had to do with the fact that even though Mexico's infrastructure isn't always the best, it is still far more advanced than was Colombia's. I wish I could remember more of the points, but it's been two weeks and I barely remember what I had for dinner last night let alone what I read in the newspaper two weeks ago <sigh>. I do recall, however, thinking that his arguments were pretty logical and cogent. In that same edition of the U/T there was an Op-Ed piece about America's role in the drug wars that was realistic, very well written and made some pretty compelling suggestions for collaboration that was not a top down imposition by the U.S. on Mexico.

I'd love to be able to link both the articles, but can not find them on the U/T web site (SignOnSanDiego), which is not especially user friendly. I tried looking for both the interview and the Op-Ed piece the day they appeared but they were not available. Both appeared on May 25th in a Sunday only section called "Dialog".


geri

Jun 4, 2008, 6:29 PM

Post #14 of 49 (7174 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Violence in Mexico

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In spite of all the negative press Oaxaca's politics get, I don't feel a whole lot of change in my neighborhood. Right now, the zocalo is alive with protestors, vendors, tents and is an interesting place to walk around, but isn't dangerous in spite of some negative press reports. Seemed like a lot of tourists were here last winter and early spring... mostly Mexicans, Canadians and Europeans. Refreshing. Tourists pretty much hang around a few blocks in centro and it's fun to mingle with them when I'm in the mood.

There are kidnappings and cop killings here, but it seems as if these occur pretty much in all large cities. I don't think it's a very good idea to get mixed up in drugs in Mexico, but so far the chaotic drug scene hasn't affected me. Helicopters buzzing my neighborhood during a major kidnapping was a bit unnerving, but mainly because I'd never been helicopter-buzzed before.


Rolly


Jun 4, 2008, 7:04 PM

Post #15 of 49 (7165 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Mexico

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Here's an update to my mild post above about troubles across the river in Torreón:

Last night sleepy little old Lerdo saw 3 taxi drivers shot dead. One of the them was also beheaded. That's the second beheading in the past two weeks. Also last week there were several shots fired at some taxi drivers at the stand next to the main park; no one was killed then. The rumor is that last night's victims were the intended targets last week. The taxi guys are rumored to be drug dealers caught in a turf war -- pretty likely.

But life goes on.

Rolly Pirate


alex .

Jun 5, 2008, 7:32 AM

Post #16 of 49 (7104 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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Yes. I have not travelled to southern Mexico since Christmas of '05. My wife does not feel safe returning to Guerrero, ever.
Alex


jerezano

Jun 5, 2008, 7:53 AM

Post #17 of 49 (7096 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Violence in Mexico

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Hello,

In response to Jennifer Rose's original post, (1) No, after 20 years of life here in Mexico, the increasing violence which is every day coming nearer to my peaceful village and has struck here at least once has not changed my way of living; (2)I take the same attitude with people who want to come here that the US Department of State takes. Exercise caution, plan your trip to bypass, if possible, particularly violent areas, be sure family knows what you plan to do so the Dept. of State may step to the rescue if possible. And (3) yes, the increasing violence has changed my travel plans a bit. I need to return to the USA every three months or so, I do it by car, I no longer drive alone but try to carry a Mexican friend with me and we pass through the particularly violent city of Reynosa as quickly as possible. We no longer stop for a bite to eat or a refreshing agua fresca but go directly to the international bridge.We try to get out of town just as quickly as possible, and the same thing on returning.

And I agree with Esperanza, the increasing violence here in Mexico is not "overblown". The danger is not inflated. The Dept. of State with its Travel Warnings is absolutely correct. There are certain areas here in Mexico where travelers should exert more caution than in others. And even avoid.

Hasta luego. jerezano.


alex .

Jun 5, 2008, 10:55 AM

Post #18 of 49 (7062 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Violence in Mexico

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You are approaching a roadblock on the highway, they have guns, you don't, Quick! Call the State Department!!
Alex


esperanza

Jun 5, 2008, 1:27 PM

Post #19 of 49 (7030 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Violence in Mexico

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Here's the link. Man, the SD Union-Tribune does not make this easy!

http://www.signonsandiego.com/...s_lz1e25caldwel.html

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Jun 5, 2008, 1:27 PM)


Rolly


Jun 5, 2008, 6:36 PM

Post #20 of 49 (6990 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Mexico

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Well, the plot thickens and has taken an ugly turn here in Lerdo. I just learned that last night fliers were scattered all over Lerdo and the adjoining cities of Gomez Palacio and Torreón purporting to be warnings from the drug gangs that "blood will flow in the streets" this weekend.

I have no idea if this is real or a hoax. But all my friends are taking it as real and are staying in their houses; nobody plans to go out after dark. Several schools have announced they will be closed tomorrow (Friday). The plaza downtown, which is usually crowded, had noticeably reduced traffic this afternoon.

I came to México for a new adventure, and I am certainly getting one. Somebody will let you know if my blood is in the streets.

I have house guests coming for the weekend at 8:00AM tomorrow. Should be interesting.

And besides that the weather is so HOT. Two weeks of over 100° (38°C). 106° (41°C) again today. Hotter tomorrow. Patagonia here I come!

Rolly Pirate


wendy devlin

Jun 6, 2008, 8:12 AM

Post #21 of 49 (6922 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Mexico

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Seem to remember from Mexican news sources, that an email was circulating around a certain border city, saying blood would flow in the streets of that city LAST Friday.

People were having the same reaction that they are having in response to the fliers circulating in your area.

And it turned out to be a hoax. Or so it's my understanding.
The email likely however, had a desired effect, of unsettling people and disrupting their lives.


(This post was edited by wendy devlin on Jun 6, 2008, 8:14 AM)


Rolly


Jun 8, 2008, 2:52 PM

Post #22 of 49 (6822 views)

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Re: Violence in Lerdo

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Sunday afternoon update:

Our "blood in the streets" weekend has passed with no shootings. Now the debate is whether the "warnings" were total hoax or the drug mafia reminding the people of their power to instill fear. Either way the effect was to scare a lot of people. Here are a few reports:
  • Friday morning I took my house guests from Manzanillo on a tour of Lerdo. Very light traffic downtown. I actually found a parking place at the plaza.
  • Friday night a friend went to a club where there are usually over 100 people on a Friday night. He found only 10 people in the club.
  • The local and state police with the army were patrolling the tri-city area all night Friday and Saturday.
  • A friend who drives a taxi refused to go to work for three days because most of the men who have been shot were taxi drivers.
  • Usually Tienda Gloria on my street sells hamburgers on Friday and Saturday nights. Not this weekend.
  • The mafia hung a funeral wreath on the front door of City Hall with the police chief's name on it and saying "this wreath is for you if you don't resign." This was the second death threat for the Chief, so he decided not to wait for number 3; he resigned.
  • My friends from Manzanillo were puzzled by all this. They said there were no killings or other drug gang activities in Manzanillo. One fellow is a professor at the University of Colima/Manzanillo. He said he knows there are drugs on his campus, but there has never been any trouble. My other friend is a customs broker at the Port of Manzanillo. He said he and his coworkers sometimes wonder about how much drug traffic there is through the port (he thinks a lot), but there never are any troubles.

All the drug-related killings and scare mongering has no effect on my life beyond making for interesting conversations. And long posts on MexConnect. Smile

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jun 8, 2008, 4:27 PM)


sioux4noff

Jun 8, 2008, 7:53 PM

Post #23 of 49 (6779 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Lerdo

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Quote
They said there were no killings or other drug gang activities in Manzanillo.

Probably all he needs to do is wait. I hadn't heard of any killings or other drug gang activities in Puerto Vallarta until the last month. I'm sure the drugs were here, but the violence is new.


esperanza

Jun 8, 2008, 7:57 PM

Post #24 of 49 (6772 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Lerdo

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Rolly, thank you so much for posting this update.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Rolly


Jun 10, 2008, 8:02 PM

Post #25 of 49 (6691 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Violence in Lerdo

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Another UpDate:

Until about three weeks ago the major newspaper in Torreón covered the various drug gang murders, beheadings and shoot-outs with the police and army. Suddenly all those stories stopped. If one only read the newspaper, one would not have known a thing about last weekend's threats, wide-spread fear, or even the resignation the Lerdo's police chief, or how many unreported murders may have happened. The word on the street is that the mafia threatened the editor -- not at all unheard of in México's drug wars. Now we are left to pick between facts and gossip.

What a sad state of affairs.

Rolly Pirate
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