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mmawer

Jun 30, 2009, 7:46 PM

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Safety in Michoacan

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My wife and I have lived in Patzcuaro half the year for the past several years --- and love it. Now it seems there is a daily barrage of news accounts in the US press about violence and kidnapping in Mexico. Before we returned to the US last spring the police chief of Patcuaro was gunned down...
For some time I have said that I feel safer on Patzcuaro streets than I do in California. Now I hesitate... What does everyone think about the current state of living in Michoacan?



jennifer rose

Jun 30, 2009, 8:49 PM

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Re: [mmawer] Safety in Michoacan

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I feel much safer here in Morelia -- and in any part of Michoacan -- than I do in most of the U.S.

In Mexico, it's mostly a matter of not being a narco, not being law enforcement, and not hanging around places where either congregate. Mind your business, and you'll be all right.


gpkgto

Jul 1, 2009, 3:53 PM

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Re: [jennifer rose] Safety in Michoacan

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I basically agree--but it is always possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get caught in a crossfire.

A small side effect of the narco problem is that now it seems all the newspapers in Mexico think it is appropriate to illustrate the stories about this with incredibly gorey photos. I recommend not reading the newspaper while eating.


sparks


Jul 1, 2009, 5:56 PM

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Re: [gpkisner] Safety in Michoacan

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Mexican newspapers have shown body parts on the freeway from accidents for years. Not that I agree but it is also nothing new only related to the drug trade

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


Ric Hoffman


Jul 3, 2009, 7:00 PM

Post #5 of 36 (14046 views)

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Re: [mmawer] Safety in Michoacan

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The replacement Director of Public Safety has resigned from office just the other day. No one knows why ......


Peter


Jul 4, 2009, 1:06 PM

Post #6 of 36 (13974 views)

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Re: [mmawer] Safety in Michoacan

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In general I think Michoacan one of the safer states to live in in Mexico, especially a town like Patzcuaro - though I know of no other town quite like Patzcuaro. I feel safer walking around downtown at night even in a large city like Morelia than I did back in California. I sometimes go out alone at night in places like Lazaro Cardenas or Tepalcatepec, though I prefer to have company.

Like Jennifer's advice avoiding the narco/contra-narco activity is essential, but it could be possible to walk into something unexpected like the double-bombing here in Morelia last September. That incident rocked the whole country, it is not the kind of thing that happens in peaceful Morelia. But Morelia is President Felipe Calderon's hometown and maybe where the bad-guys are going to deliver the mail if they want someone to get the message.

I am more cautious now than before but think it more dangerous just crossing busy downtown streets than running into foul play by the bad-guys.



gpkgto

Jul 4, 2009, 4:29 PM

Post #7 of 36 (13956 views)

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Re: [Peter] Safety in Michoacan

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"In general I think Michoacan one of the safer states to live in in Mexico..."

Michoacan has been one of the drug capiatls of Mexico for decades. The Tierra Caliente is full of all kinds of drug activity.
I think Morelia and other areas were "quiet" in the past because of the same situation that used to exist in certain areas of New York City--i.e., there were few serious crimes in areas were the criminals lived, such as some parts/neighborhoods of Manhattan and Statan Island.


Peter


Jul 13, 2009, 12:41 PM

Post #8 of 36 (13773 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Safety in Michoacan

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Michoacan has been one of the drug capiatls of Mexico for decades. The Tierra Caliente is full of all kinds of drug activity.
I think Morelia and other areas were "quiet" in the past...


It's not quiet right now, for sure. Discussions going on on the thread "Recommendations?" about the weekend's multi-city shootings deserve some mention here by virtue of this thread's title. Right now there seems to be some long-time ex-pats here in Morelia genuinely concerned for their personal safety, while others give the occurrence a passing yawn.

Last September brought about "the worst nightmare" when the double bombing in downtown Morelia during a nation-wide celebration was apparently aimed not at the police or a rival traffic clan but at innocent bystanders attending the celebrations. I felt that incident deserved mention here, and I did so earlier.

I don't know any of the local ex-pats living here in Morelia and have never met them; in over three years I have only associated with the locals. None were particularly concerned with this past weekend's shootings, it was not rolling of everyone's tongue and probably wouldn't have been mentioned at all if I hadn't asked one particularly close friend if he heard about it. He wasn't happy about it but not especially concerned, just doesn't want another president with their hometown in Michoacán.

Not especially safe here right now but most of us go about with no change in our regular routine; walk Friday night to Teatro Ocampo for the symphonic orchestra's performances, evening walk for tacos or cena at La Immaculada. I don't live in an upscale colonia but the type of violence as occurs in the US or other places, muggings, robberies, or the like, are rare occurrences here. I still feel safer here than I did living in California.


(This post was edited by Peter on Jul 13, 2009, 12:47 PM)


jennifer rose

Jul 13, 2009, 1:28 PM

Post #9 of 36 (13758 views)

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Re: [Peter] Safety in Michoacan

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As one of the Morelianos who just sees life going on as usual, I think you've summed up the situation fairly well.

Now, as for our rendition of 9/11 on 15/9, there is a school of thought which places the responsibility for those grenades not in the hands of drug gangs -- but upon another source. And there are some real indicators that that notion might not be too far-fetched. I'm just saying ...


bournemouth

Jul 13, 2009, 2:32 PM

Post #10 of 36 (13742 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Safety in Michoacan

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Your comments are beginning to remind me of the Colosio assassination.


Brian

Jul 16, 2009, 8:02 AM

Post #11 of 36 (13639 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Safety in Michoacan

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Things are going to either get better or a whole lot worse. Fifteen hundred federal troops have just been deployed to Michoacan in response to La Familia's declaration of war against those who are "attacking our children". This whole thing about it's leader's effort to establish dialog with the government would seem comical if it weren't so deadly serious:

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/612639.html

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/612553.html


jennifer rose

Jul 16, 2009, 8:12 AM

Post #12 of 36 (13632 views)

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Re: [Brian] Safety in Michoacan

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Brian, you seem to have a lot of information about violence in Mexico. When was the last time you were in this part of the country -- and for how long?


Brian

Jul 16, 2009, 9:56 AM

Post #13 of 36 (13608 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Safety in Michoacan

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I don't understand the relevance of your question but to answer, although I haven't been to Morelia in over three years, I have been to Tijuana twice in the last six months. It wasn't that long ago when someone asked a question about safety in Michoacan and you discredited my response with the reply quoted below. On September 15, 2008, the Independence Day celebration in Morelia turned tragic when grenades took the lives of 8 innocent people and injured more than 100. In Mexico, politics and narcoviolence are intertwined:


jennifer rose

Dec 30, 2007, 9:17 AM
Post #3 of 14 (630 views)
Shortcut Re: [tashby] Living in Michoacan: The drug question... Quote | Reply | Private Reply The narcotraffic really doesn't affect the lives of most who live in Michoacan, and that includes the foreigners, at least no more than the issues of drug use affects those who live in the U.S. The press -- and I do urge you to read the Mexican press -- does have a field day with drug killings. Those are newsworthy, and the business of the press is news. But as long as you're not a famous singer or head of public safety and as long as you stay out of the areas where you really have no business being in, you'll be just fine. See http://staringatstrangers.typepad.com/...every_so_often_.html

To the best of my knowledge, Brian does not now nor has he ever lived in Michoacan.


(This post was edited by Brian on Jul 16, 2009, 10:21 AM)


Oscar2

Jul 16, 2009, 10:33 AM

Post #14 of 36 (13590 views)

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Re: [Brian] Safety in Michoacan

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Brian,
It may be a mistake even acknowledging your posted tirades seemingly regurgitated from a personal systemic law enforcers persona, aging and gone mad. With all due respect, in IMHO, its getting nauseating and over the top and would you please reexamine this compulsion toward “incessant fear mongering!”

It is my hope readers will know and realize your cherry picking of blood, guts news and “in your face” is obsessive, and IMO its purpose is now beyond the pale. I like Mexico, and your obsessive compulsion on this forum is saying more about a diminished sense of self needing to draw questionable attention toward yourself, rather than subject matter.

Brian, I’m sure your probably a nice guy with ambitious intentions but we/I have listened to you for quite sometime, please look in the mirror, and perhaps you will see what some of us see.. Hanging on the coat tales of sensationalistic news media selling their wares is bad enough, much less having this knee jerk reaction to "continually" propagate same.

I believe I would flip backwards if I were to hear from you something encouraging, nice, and perhaps even moderately good about Mexico without the tail end of your praises stymied with some kind of negative note in closing. Please, most of us know what is going on in Mexico without the negative intravenous feeding continuously discoloring the pallor of MC atmosphere.

Buena Suerte


Brian

Jul 16, 2009, 11:07 AM

Post #15 of 36 (13583 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Safety in Michoacan

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Oscar

I can understand your tendency to "shoot the messenger" concerning disturbing news reports. You aren't the only one. I have been asked not to send any more crime related posts to a city-specific Yahoo message board, a similarly focused blog focusing on SMA and, I am assuming, now here on MexConnect where I have been a prolific poster for even more than the seven years listed in my profile. I occasionally go over the archives and see that most have reflected the "times" in Mexico in which they were made. Even the Tijuana of 1996 when I began residing there were more tranquil than many parts of the interior of Mexico today. You are correct that I do come from a law enforcement background but I think that experience shouldn't be discounted out of hand. Like Esperanza who worked in the infamous La Ocho (Tijuana jail), I saw gang violence upfront when my job took me to the euphemistically named "Adjustment Center" in San Quentin Prison. Neither of us scare easily but you don't survive those places without being keenly aware of what is happening in the here and now. I agree that now most people who are interested know where to get the news about current events in Mexico which have been overwhelmed by mostly reports of crime. They don't need me to spoon-feed them and I have no problem becoming more passive and let events come to pass without further comment from here. Although I don't live fulltime in Mexico anymore, I obviously have not lost interest in the country. I married into a Mexican family with many relatives living on either side of the border. In other words, I have a personal stake in the future of Mexico.


jerezano

Jul 17, 2009, 6:54 AM

Post #16 of 36 (13492 views)

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Re: [Brian] Safety in Michoacan;Lets get back to the thread

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Hello all,

Safety in Michoacán right now is a hot topic. Brian is right. While life continues more or less normally for gringos resident there, the local people are beginning to worry--and they have reason to worry. Their peaceful life is being turned upside down.

For example our local press the Sol de Zacatecas reported this morning that the Federal presence in Michoacán has nearly doubled the number of soldiers from 1500 to 2500, to which there have been added 1500 sailors (marines?) and 1,500 federal operatives of one type or another.

Obviously somebody is worried about safety in Michoacán. Whether the gringos should be worrying or not is moot. Safety there has now become a national problem.

Let's not shoot the messenger, as Brian pleads. He is only trying to alert the foreign population which doesen't read the local news as to the conditions that are existing. Nor should we simply ignore what is happening. Being made aware of what is going on is not bad mouthing a locality but is of vital interest to all .

jerezano


jennifer rose

Jul 17, 2009, 7:09 AM

Post #17 of 36 (13489 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Safety in Michoacan;Lets get back to the thread

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The foreign population in Michoacan does read the local news. Many of them also in touch with foreign media. The few who don't definitely aren't reading MexConnect's fora.


Peter


Jul 17, 2009, 11:39 AM

Post #18 of 36 (13438 views)

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Re: [Brian] Safety in Michoacan

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1500 additional troops just arrived, that is relevant. Some streets are blocked off in the centro to give a clear corridor to the hospital. Can of worms, I agree; a good day if you're a bird, but those were helicopters flying overhead. However, it is Friday and later I'm going to the teatro for the obra, scheduled is a full night of Mozart. For me it is life as usual.

It is not etiquette to tell a lady concerned about her weight that she's putting on a few pounds. As for safety in Michoacan, her friends might say, "OK, she's getting fat. Now can we drop the subject?"



(This post was edited by Peter on Jul 17, 2009, 11:40 AM)


jennifer rose

Jul 17, 2009, 12:53 PM

Post #19 of 36 (13422 views)

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Re: [Peter] Safety in Michoacan

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You might clarify which Centro you're referring to in Michoacan. Morelia, Uruapan, Lazaro Cardenas, Zamora, Zitacuaro, La Piedad?


ken_in_dfw

Jul 17, 2009, 2:45 PM

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Re: [Peter] Safety in Michoacan

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For those who live in Michoacan, I agree that discussing this subject might seem like stepping yet again on already sore toes. Those of you living there don't need to be told what you're going through - you're living it, however pleasant or painful those experiences might be.

However, there are those of us who do not live in Mexico, who like to travel there. Some of us have had Michoacan on our list of places to visit. Some of us are ready to go now. But some of us are thinking that we might heed Cristina's advice and say, "Now is not the year."

The critical information in making this decision is: can I be informed enough to reasonably have a good time without running into trouble?

Those of you who live there talk about knowing to stay away from police stations or off certain highways at certain times. I've even heard others on other discussion boards talk about knowing that a certain restaurant is favored by local criminal bosses and, thus, to keep away. The key is that, in living there, you have learned how to adapt and, thus, minimize your risks. The traveler is comparatively disadvantaged and needs to compensate by asking the locals about current conditions.

I'll bore you with a personal story to illustrate my point. When I was a young boy, living in my boring little town in the U.S. Midwest, I was walking home from the bus stop after school one day. I had just turned on to the street where I lived, when a young woman came running up, screaming at me and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me out of the road. Just as I was about to ask her what the heck she was doing, down the street came a couple of juiced up speedsters drag racing. After they passed, the lady explained that she saw me and the cars behind me and knew that I was in danger. She saved my life. And this happened on my boring little street in my boring little town in the boring middle US of A.

My point is that there are a lot of us who could use some well-timed and wise advice these days. The last thing any of us wants is to get flattened because we were caught in the middle of somebody else's drag race.

Ken


Oscar2

Jul 17, 2009, 4:19 PM

Post #21 of 36 (13370 views)

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Re: [Brian] Safety in Michoacan

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Brian you’ve prefaced you have a stake in Mexico, one way or another most of us do. Your background in law enforcement if fast-forwarded, current times will reveal through “focused awareness” that pain and suffering is always at the forefront in collectively controlling the masses through psychological warfare.

This can be a long drawn out discussion but in cutting to the chaste, if you are really serious about having an invested “good will interests” in humanity, Mexico specific, lets talk about terrorism infecting Mexico today. Lobed heads, blood/guts, shootings, gore and more, is just the beginning of terroristic torture. What has to follow is the carefully foreseen and planned dependence on conglomerates such as the media, to systematically aid and abet the most crucifying part of this ghoulishness and this is, psychological terrorism. This collateral damage is relied on by terrorists to skillfully control the masses by smashing it in your face, for as long as the media will do so, and yes, we already know they are relentless.

Cringing, cowling, hiding, and overtly voicing fear for all to hear, is an integrated tool used at times savagely as part of the sensationalist news and of terroristic gore, which grabs one by the collar and literally shakes you senseless into believing whatever they are bent on making you believe. This and more is skillfully wrapped in the media’s credo toward escalating profit margins and crowd control. In some corners of our planet, this is an enormous and ongoing industry. Even speaking of it in these terms “why-its almost sacrileges” sorry, but it is, what it is.

Those who aid and abet terrorism by hanging on too, coat-tailing and dispensing (becoming messengers) is exactly what they depend on. Yes, you feeding into, enhancing and spooning out this same bile is exactly what they count on and look forward too. It’s skilled, collective, human insanity entrapping ones self and others, under the guise of “don’t put your head in the sand,” I’m just trying to alert those to be careful, I feel its my right and duty to warn others and on and on and on……….sheeesh …It just doesn’t stop!

Most of us on the forum have been around the block a few times, and it doesn’t take a mental giant to realize this, so what to do? Well, I know we're going to do what we are conditioned to do. Even though we know what we should do, joining the media march, flag waving and carrying banners for terrorists, I’m sorry, is not my cup of tea nor do I believe its to our advantage. No matter what one says or does, people are going to do what they're going to do, regardless. The media will pound and pound on you until you are a believer and so much so, that we become dependent on their nurturing. Its all around us but I refuse giving it the credence it needs to be disseminated toward their advantage. Dos Centavos

PS- Giving it the airtime, I just did, shouldn’t have happened but hopefully it will serve a better purpose or can it be that its just whistling in the wind..... :-)


Peter


Jul 17, 2009, 4:34 PM

Post #22 of 36 (13365 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Safety in Michoacan

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You might clarify which Centro you're referring to in Michoacan. Morelia, Uruapan, Lazaro Cardenas, Zamora, Zitacuaro, La Piedad?


Sorry, I was speaking specifically of Morelia but of the state of Michoacan in general. I was told the reason for some street closures in the Centro was to keep it clear for emergency vehicles going to the hospital, just a precaution in the interest of safety for the people of Morelia.

In reply to kenhjr: Of course one's safety cannot be guaranteed anywhere in the world. In Morelia my primary safety concern is in crossing the street, and for that one can take precautions. The news sounds ugly, there seems to be a private war going on between narco/anti-narco interests, but that's not just in this state it is everywhere. Many think it is Felipe Calderon's over-reaction to cleanup his home state and that Michoacan is being unfairly targeted, heightening the tension that would not be there otherwise.

Mexican people, overall, do not like to impose on others how to live their lives and that if certain people want drugs, just let those people have them. But that solution is not in the interest of narco/anti-narco interests; many of that faction play both sides, simutaneously. And some of the strongest proponents of anti-drug legislation and enforcement are the narco/anti-narco players because there is big money in it, and none if the prohibition does not exist. There is huge money for those who traffic, those who control the flow of traffic - green light to those waving the green, and big tax money to enforce those laws.

Come on down to Michoacan, it's safe here. We have the best food, lovliest women, most comfortable climate, and places that make the best and prettiest post cards. In Michoacan we have some of the oldest institutions in the Americas, first university, first music conservatory, and more. Problems that plague many urban areas like scam-artists, muggings and robberies are almost non-existent here. The best moments of my life have been right here in this state and I don't intend to leave it because the news gets ugly, the life is beautiful.


gpkgto

Jul 17, 2009, 5:46 PM

Post #23 of 36 (13343 views)

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Re: [Peter] Safety in Michoacan

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The "narcos" are a full-fledged mafia--they are not only involved in drugs. They are involved in extortion, kidnapping, robberies, etc. etc.--and many of their crimes are against normal citizens (tianguis vendors, small business owners) not just the wealthy.


jennifer rose

Jul 17, 2009, 7:00 PM

Post #24 of 36 (13317 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Safety in Michoacan

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A parallel government -- just like AMLO tried to effect!


Peter


Jul 18, 2009, 6:17 AM

Post #25 of 36 (13263 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Safety in Michoacan

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The "narcos" are a full-fledged mafia--they are not only involved in drugs. They are involved in extortion, kidnapping, robberies, etc. etc.--and many of their crimes are against normal citizens (tianguis vendors, small business owners) not just the wealthy.

OK, drug money has allowed many to "branch out" in their crimes, or has permitted the petty criminal the opportunity gain the working capital and power to become a higher level player. And they are at all levels, one could call "narco" the new "naco." Don't forget to include politicians, government officials, law enforcement, and others in this game. All the players are on the field gettings penalties and scoring goals but their uniform colors are blurred, even the umpires and field judges are difficult to distinguish from the players from where I sit. But the spectators are cheering and booing, enjoying the game or outraged at moments, remembering their earlier ambitions to be a player.
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