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HarryinNM

Jan 15, 2009, 6:42 AM

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Concern for MX Govt

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Reports today in US newspapers about military concern that Mexico's government could collapse in the short term due to drug cartel strength. See:

http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_11444354

My sense is that this is not a well founded fear and may be little more than a tactic to encourage increased military budget.

???

Harry



bournemouth

Jan 15, 2009, 6:54 AM

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Re: [HarryinNM] Concern for MX Govt

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Scaremongering comes to mind.


ken_in_dfw

Jan 15, 2009, 8:31 AM

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Re: [bournemouth] Concern for MX Govt

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I do think it's an exaggeration and probably scaremongering to assert that the Mexican government, on the whole, is verging on collapse. Calderón impresses me as very cool-headed and focused - precisely the qualities needed to deal with a very, very thorny problem.

On the other hand, the Dallas Morning News presented this bleak assessment of the situation in Ciudad Juárez/El Paso on Monday. I respect the Mexico-based reporters of the DMN and think they do a good job of presenting an even-handed portrayal of the facts. And the facts are that the Texas border is facing a refugee situation.


Quote


City officials say that drug-related violence across the border in Ciudad Juárez is having a growing impact in El Paso. And the situation across Mexico is deteriorating so fast that retired five-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey warned in a new assessment of a refugee catastrophe that could devastate border cities.


“Mexico is on the edge of abyss,” he said in a Dec. 28 report. “It could become a narco-state in the coming decade,” and the result could be a “surge of millions of refugees crossing the U.S. border to escape the domestic misery of violence, failed economic policy, poverty, hunger, joblessness, and the mindless cruelty and injustice of a criminal state.”


I think people are resorting to hysteria when they generalize that conditions across all of Mexico are deteriorating to a point of break-down in law-and-order. Life is clearly going on in places like Cuernavaca, Puebla and San Luis Potosí. But, on the other hand, I think it's equally irresponsible to suggest that we don't have an epic human catastrophe in the making on the border.

We, the people of North America, Mexicanos and Estadounidenses alike, have a shared problem and responsibility. We are all going to have to exert pressure on our elected officials to embrace some common-sense solutions. And some of those solutions won't be very easily embraced. But I predict we'll make those hard choices at the point when the pain of continuing to do nothing exceeds the pain of doing something.


Brian

Jan 15, 2009, 9:22 AM

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Re: [kenhjr] Concern for MX Govt

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I think that a lot of people underestimate the impact that the multi-billion dollar drug trade has on the Mexican economy. Assuming the eventual triumph of good over evil (i.e. Calderon's use of military troops to battle the narcos), what will replace all that money that filters all the way up and down the economy? A Pyrrhic victory is the last thing the Mexican people need. It hasn't been that long since the last revolution.


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 15, 2009, 9:27 AM)


ken_in_dfw

Jan 15, 2009, 9:50 AM

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Re: [Brian] Concern for MX Govt

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Economic development, on both sides of the border, is one piece of the puzzle. Without it, you're not going to make a dent in the demand NOB or the supply SOB.


BajaGringo


Jan 15, 2009, 11:25 AM

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Re: [kenhjr] Concern for MX Govt

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The easiest solution that remains is to cut off their revenue. As long as the US wants to consume illegal drugs, I cannot envision any scenario in which the narco trade can be stopped. It simply is not just Mexico's problem...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


esperanza

Jan 15, 2009, 11:58 AM

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Re: [HarryinNM] Concern for MX Govt

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That article goes on to read, "Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.""

It's very easy to dismiss the salient points of the article by sticking our heads in the sand, as Ms. Callaghan says. If you're not reading Spanish-language Mexican news from a well-respected newspaper (UNAM's La Jornada qualifies), then you are not privy to the full scope of what is happening in Mexico. There is indeed reason to be concerned about Mexico's future under Calderón or any other president.

The truth is, even the best newspapers print only a portion of the news and often relate skimpy accounts of both government and non-government activity. Many newspapers print out-and-out lies in an effort to keep the populace unaware of what's happening in the country. Many Mexicans--at least the ones with whom I've discussed Mexico's future--believe that things here are on the downhill slide.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









robrt8

Jan 15, 2009, 6:32 PM

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Re: [esperanza] Concern for MX Govt

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...Many newspapers print out-and-out lies in an effort to keep the populace unaware of what's happening in the country. Many Mexicans--at least the ones with whom I've discussed Mexico's future--believe that things here are on the downhill slide.


Can you indulge me a bit?
Ignore everything you've read and what your friends have said. Now, do you feel "things are on a downhill slide"?

About a year ago you posted that we should read the Mexican press. I've since become a rabid reader. I heartily agree with you. But I can't imagine what would motivate a large newspaper to print anything other than what will continue to sell papers, especially in the Mexican market.

I've also spoken to quite a few Mexicans. What I hear is that they read a lot about the violencia but "here it's tranquillo".


Brian

Jan 15, 2009, 6:42 PM

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Re: [robrt8] Concern for MX Govt

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In Reply To
I've since become a rabid reader.


Are you sure you didn't mean avid reader? Calmate, Ray.


esperanza

Jan 15, 2009, 6:43 PM

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Re: [robrt8] Concern for MX Govt

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I live in Morelia. Here it's not so tranquilo. The grenade attacks during the Grito--more than a dozen innocent people died and scores were injured, some horribly--took a lot of heart out of people here. Sure, we all go about our daily business como si nada, but it's always present.

Two weeks later, the Pátzcuaro Director de Seguridad Pública and his bodyguard were shot and killed on a main street in peaceful, beautiful Pátzcuaro, at 11:00 AM. Nadie vió nada, según dicen. And all the Patzcuarenses go about their daily business, too.

Every day La Voz de Michoacán prints more and more narco-related assassinations, all over the country. And everybody everywhere goes about their daily business, todo tranquilo.

People say, "Oh yeah, all that drug violence is just along the border."

Uh uh.

Keep reading the papers, robert8. La Voz is online...


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









robrt8

Jan 15, 2009, 7:06 PM

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Re: [esperanza] Concern for MX Govt

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I know you live in Morelia. I couldn't go to Morelia fast enough after what happened. It took us six weeks.

Can you indulge my question still?


esperanza

Jan 15, 2009, 8:53 PM

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Re: [robrt8] Concern for MX Govt

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Robrt8, I don't know how to judge whether 'things are on a downhill slide' except very personally. Let me preface this by saying that I am not in any way a fearful person. I've been places and done things in my life that cause other people to raise their eyebrows. I lived in Tijuana and worked in La Ocho, the exceptionally dangerous city jail there. I have never been the least bit nervous about living alone in either the USA or Mexico.

Here's what I myself notice:
  • Since September 15, I feel slightly less willing to go to large public events. A couple of months ago, my partner and I went to an event attended by the governor, his wife, the mayor, his wife, and assorted other high-level officials. For the first time in my experience, security guards checked purses and other bags and all attendees were required to go through metal detectors like those in airports. This was a direct response to the events of Sept 15. It was unnerving to sit in the event knowing that all of us could have been in the same kind of line of fire.
  • Since September 15, I feel a slight nervousness when I'm in an unfamiliar Morelia neighborhood.
  • Since September 15, I think twice about leaving the house after dark. I haven't stayed home, but I do think twice.
  • Since September 15, I watch more closely to see what car is following mine, to see who is walking near me, etc. I don't feel personally threatened, but I do pay closer attention to my immediate environment.
There may well be other personal responses that I'm not aware of. I'll think about this. If that's the kind of 'downhill slide' you meant, I hope I've addressed your question.

There are other aspects to a 'downhill slide', aspects that are primarily economic. I see my Mexican friends confused by reports of low-number inflation but living with big-number price hikes in every realm of spending: food, clothing, shelter, gasoline, cooking gas, electricity, services, and all other goods. I know that the cost of the canasta básica has skyrocketed; I feel it in my own pocketbook. I know that unemployment is rampant. The woman who works for us told me today that she feels blessed by God to have the work she has and that her husband (who was recently out of work) has a new job. She feels terrified for her sister's family: her brother-in-law has been out of work for some time, as has his brother, and her sister is seriously underemployed.

So: in my microcosm, not everything is tan tranquilo como antes.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









BajaGringo


Jan 15, 2009, 9:27 PM

Post #13 of 30 (6345 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Concern for MX Govt

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Unfortunately, general insecurity is being felt worldwide on many levels. We are living in some very difficult times right now...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Mexicanbill

Jan 16, 2009, 4:36 AM

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Re: [BajaGringo] Concern for MX Govt

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Up here in Frozen Wisconsin, Spanish TV reported it a little differently, according to my wives translation to me. They reported that in the Visit of President Calderon to President elect Obama, one of the things that they talked about was that A. One of Pres. Calderon's problems was that about 33% of his government was on the payroll of the Narcos. B. Because of the problem, his military is trying to handle a problem that is bigger than they might be able to handle, and the United States might be able to help them (should the need arise) by loaning some troops to clean up the boarder. The Mexican Military could then spend their efforts in other parts of the country. The talk was in the range of 45,000 troops.

For me, I always try to see what is happening behind the story First thought that came to mind. We have an incoming President that has promised to "bring the troop home" while he is also facing the highest unemployment in the past 16 years. So, he needs to bring them home, without adding to the unemployment problem..best way to do that is to find a place to keep them working.

The downside, as I see it, is that I can't see how it would do anything but hurt our relationship with the working class of Mexico, if they see US troops in their border towns. I think that they would feel that the problem is their problem and our troops should remain in our country.

I'm sure I am wrong in my thinking, just thought I would throw it out there.
Chef William aka MexicanBill


Oscar2

Jan 16, 2009, 9:03 AM

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Re: [HarryinNM] Concern for MX Govt

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These subjects discussed amongst us are purposely repetitious with intent. I totally agree that those hired by the media must keep their jobs by pumping out something that grabs and shakes you into daily submission too listening, or the chief editor will replace the writer with someone who really likes the smell of blood.

I for one abhor this vicious media game, which preys on good, hard working people and tries to turn them into obsequious followers by verbally spooning their cheap dribble designed to ruthlessly fatten-up their own paychecks. Lets please think and give some serious consideration of how the collective psyche all around us, is fragmenting with paranoia, fear, anxiety and just on and on, by what, you guessed it, “NEW’S, MORE NEW’S and MORE NEW’S, most of it bad, until you get to a point where you just literally want to puke.

Wouldn’t you know it, me also just talking about this, is exactly the kind of contribution these newspaper articles are designed for. Yes folks, just keep fanning the fire, and not only have I done my job well, but it insures I’ll have it a bit longer, so please keep reading and disseminating ……..that’s my job..man!

There is allot to say but in support of what follows, personally I’d first say that we (the US) should take the approximate 69 billion dollars annually spent only by the US of A on this ridicules drug war on both sides of the border and globally, and kick-off a very serious needed program. They should make it very clear that its over, we’re done and we are heading straight toward eventually pulling the illegal plug right out from under the “narco industry” and then watch the cartels scramble with the pharmaceuticals while they and everyone else will jock for a position when drugs are 25 cents and heading toward a dime a pop….

No doubt, there will be an initial surge in drug use, until down the line, maybe 10, 15 or 20 years from now, something akin to anti-cigarette adds will sublimely and eventually work its way into public consciousness and making the forbidden fruit aspect of drugs, eventually, tired, wasteful, stupid and unhealthy in the consciousness of our people.

The taxes collected from the pharmaceuticals, can go toward building rehabs, outpatient clinics, public education and the monies saved on armies of police and solders fighting these same stupid drug wars can also go toward more, continuous public education and better schools for our children and adults.

This all is just the tip of the alternative iceberg. I’m sure many of you can think of better ways of getting us smarter, rather than working with making drugs more popular and expensive by supporting and bolstering its importance by killing each other off for it and making the existence of the forbidden fruit craze much more alluring, a mystique and thus more and more expensive in so many senseless ways. Enough, I’m tired of all this crap…already…. Dos centavos..


Gayla

Jan 16, 2009, 9:10 AM

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Re: [HarryinNM] Concern for MX Govt

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Reports today in US newspapers about military concern that Mexico's government could collapse in the short term due to drug cartel strength. See:

http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_11444354

My sense is that this is not a well founded fear and may be little more than a tactic to encourage increased military budget.

???

Harry
_______________________________

This story was reported differently on the (TV) news here in San Diego. What we got was that the military had been asked to review the situation along the border and develop a contingency plan in the event that the Mexican government collapses. The report I heard then went on to assure viewers that a collapse was not considered eminent, but that because of the danger from the drug cartels, Baja was now off limits to all military personnel assigned to the various and assorted military bases in San Diego. (Another nail for Tijuana's tourist trade coffin)

I had seen the El Paso Times article much earlier in the day so I was familiar with the story when it popped up on our local news. Interesting how different the spin on the story was between the 2 media outlets.


(This post was edited by Gayla on Jan 16, 2009, 9:12 AM)


robrt8

Jan 16, 2009, 11:56 AM

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Re: [esperanza] Concern for MX Govt

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Thanks, Esperanza, for taking the time and indulging me. I'm glad to see your personal feelings are more on the slight than the slide.
Between you and me, I don't like the online version of La Voz.
Maybe we can save that discussion for another thread..


sciman

Jan 18, 2009, 5:26 PM

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Re: [HarryinNM] Concern for MX Govt

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The press sometimes gets things wrong, though journalists are want to emphasize the sensational. I'm thankful for strategic planning exercises which will explore a variety of possible scenarios, many of unknown probability. But on the situation of Mexico, I think there is plenty of reason to be quite concerned if one looks out a couple of years. I've recently been reading George Grayson of William and Mary University. His commentary at http://www.cis.org/surge2 scares the heck out of me.

Past the head in sand which might be functional in order to maintain a semblance of tranquility, we know that kidnappings seem to be going up about 10% a year. Crime of this sort seems to go up, if I get it right, sometimes where drug proceeds are challenged through effective enforcement. Police are thought to participate in the capture, ransom, and/or liquidation of victims. Little is known about the magnitude of the problem since it's estimated that only 10% of crimes in this area are reported. The wealthy seem to continue to avoid taxes, feed corruption, secure armored cars, hire bodyguards and professional drivers, buy sophisticated locks and weapons, and indulge in the most recent microchip implants. Prison's aren't real helpful when the relevant guys are apprehended and sheltered there. Prisons there, like here, seem a great location for gang formation flowing back into communities.

Grayson's of a mind that few if any of the current proposals will do much to alleviate the problem in any way. Nothing can happen without professional and honest law enforcement officers -- not likely to happen where there are 3000 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with inadequate literacy, little or no technology or tendency to coordinate information or actions. Mexico just doesn't have the resources it would need to hire background checkers, ferret out liars, identify addicts, or protect civil liberties. The tens of thousands of new recruits are hardly likely to materialize where politicians hop from post to post and aren't accountable. Calderon played a chip in deploying federal troops, though one can wonder if the military, while it's done some good, isn't exhausted and becoming corrupt. Some accounts suggest demoralized forces which are overworked and where morale is low. Military abuses have risen where military has been posted; so support from local communities might be patchy, though narcos seem to be the new action heros in the schoolyard games of young kids throughout the north of the country.

Interim elections are not far away, and some suggest that national politics doesn't look altogether on the side of progress. Obrador still mocks Calderon, though the PDR seems badly divided. Nonetheless, some see the PRI as likely winners in comparison with Calderon's pan, or Mexico City's PRD.. If Calderon can't' bounce back with good apprehensions in the war on narcos, he might become a lame duck for 3 years. One can wonder how much stability would be brought by brining new PRI politicians back into seats of power for dickering with narco families behind closed doors.

I'm not there, and I don't know. But my fingers are surely crossed, and my prayers are on the side of Mexicans.


HarryinNM

Jan 20, 2009, 7:56 AM

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Re: [sciman] Concern for MX Govt

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From a non-border state, some interesting perspective:

http://www.kansascity.com/276/story/990114.html


Poncho32

Jan 20, 2009, 8:13 AM

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Re: [sciman] Concern for MX Govt

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I have been a member of Mexconnected for some time now, its is articles such as this written by knowledgeable people like Sciman that I chose to stay on as a member.
In regards to the subject matter.
It is my belief that this country that we all love so well will never cure problems such as this until its entire economic base is lifted to create a balance for all levels of society .
Until that occurs graff and greed will flourish.
Bud





sciman

Jan 27, 2009, 12:49 PM

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Re: [sciman] Concern for MX Govt

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As a follow up on this thread, George W. Grayson has just published "Mexico's Struggle with Drugs and Thugs" in a Winter 2009 publication of the Foreign Policy Association. http://www.fpa.org/...ow.htm?doc_id=707048. This extremely helpful analysis reviews the long history of the spread of drugs, Mexican involvements in their trade, and the weakening of the Mexican State. Grayson is intimately informed of current efforts and commentary within Mexico, and speculates on the sustainability of current efforts. A highly recommended read.


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jan 27, 2009, 12:58 PM)


headin.south

Jan 29, 2009, 11:57 AM

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Re: [sciman] Concern for MX Govt

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I'm a newbie, and have been reading this thread with great interest as my husband and I investigate a possible retirement in Mexico. ???? Is southern Baja safely out of the way of the drug routes and the drug-related crime wave? If you were not already living in Mexico, and knowing what you know now, would you still move there?
Bee


Rolly


Jan 29, 2009, 12:34 PM

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Re: [headin.south] Concern for MX Govt

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"If you were not already living in Mexico, and knowing what you know now, would you still move there?"

Absolutely. While I live along one of the drug routes, and we have drug-related crime in my area, I still like it here and would do the move again.

Rolly Pirate


sciman

Jan 29, 2009, 1:06 PM

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According to Grayson, Mexican cartels dominate in certain areas: areas of Tierra Caliente near Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico State, the "golden triangle" (a production area between Sinaloa, Chichuahua and Dorango in the Sierra Madres, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the southeast, and of course the many border areas near the US where judges, journalists, and police are carved up. The Gulf cartel is centered just south of Texas in Tamaulipas state, while main competitors the Sinaloa cartel, is centered in Sinaloa state.

This doesn't necessarily provide a good map of hotspots, which seem to occur where competition is keen, politicians are in rotation, and/or where conditions are destabilized by factions within families -- often when there's success at taking out syndicate heads. Violence is particularly acute in Nothern Baja, and this may remain the case for a while. Reuters has reported that morticians from a number of other parts of Mexico are opening branches in Tj.

There has been speculation recently of a new 'truce' among families centered out of Sinaloa and Culiacan, though I'm drive on through the area on a roadtrip south;-). Though northern Baja is one of the main battlefields and things have been rather quiet toward the Southern tip, there have been incidents lately in Cabo San Lucas where Canadian tourists have been caught in crossfire at a nightclub.

I'm not living in Mexico though I love the idea of it. We can only hope that Calderon can throw the cartels on the defensive, gain cooperation from a frightened public which is reluctant to trust police, and start controlling the drug kingpins -- whose organizations seem in the meantime to be decentralizing and squabbling over territory. For now, large majorities of Mexicans are applauding the president's military strategy against the cartels, though over half believe that the cartels are winning the battle. Many assume that progress on the drug violence will call for strong reforms of the many many ill equipped police forces, unlikely efforts to achieve significant reform in the ineffective and cumbersome judicial system, and the poorly run prison system which seems now rather effective and growing criminality.

Who know where all of this will wind up for expats or for Mexicans. While I totally appreciate Rolly and others' commitment and love of Mexico, I don't think I'll move there short of the emergence of stronger and more credible political power. I might risk traveling for extended stays to try building language skills. Eradication of the drug business doesn't seem likely to some apparently qualified observers -- drugs have been a mainstay of the economy for generations, and the cartels have support in a number of communities where they also do some good. It's possible that some sort of truce along the lines of dual sovereignty may reign as politicians and barons return to more normal circumstances. After all, if Mexico is successful at shutting down drugs entering from the south and the coasts, that trade will only go to competitors who find ways around the geography.


(This post was edited by sciman on Jan 29, 2009, 1:09 PM)


morgaine7


Jan 29, 2009, 1:19 PM

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I'm in La Paz, BCS. So far we have not experienced the problems that have occurred in the northern part of the Baja peninsula. There are drugs and drug-related crime, as is true in most places these days. But it's mostly petty crime, and to my knowledge there are no major drug routes in this area. I feel safer here than I would in a US city of this size.

Yes, absolutely, I would still move here. It's a lovely town with good services and warm, friendly people. Mexico is a huge country, and most of it is very unlike the border areas.

Kate
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