Jan 17, 2010, 11:14 AM
Post #22 of 36
Re: [geri] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers
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A Case in Point: Regards,
...Last June, there was a major blowup in the State of Michoacan and we were in the process of planning an August trip there. Initially, we were a bit alarmed but by continuing to watch the news reports and making contact through PM's with various MexConnect forum members from the area, we felt we had enough information to continue with our plans. Sure we stayed away from a couple of cities we had initially planned to visit. That said, we traveled more extensively in Michoacan than we ever had before and totally enjoyed our trip. The six days and hundreds of miles of driving on all sorts of back roads was totally without incident and we never had any safety concerns...
Great post! Wish more folks were like you. That's the purpose of the forums, but unfortunately most people believe what they want to believe and those who are wise and dedicated travelers, like yourself, use the forums to good use. That's why I encourage Rolly to keep posting. Keep enjoying your viists to Mexico. We need folk like you. Geri, Neil is no doubt a 'wise and dedicated' traveler and will appreciate your remarks. He's right to keep enjoying his visits to Mexico.
However, I'm one of the people who originally posted about the difficulties in Michoacán (specifically in Morelia in early July, not in June) and responded to Neil's request for safety information. I live full-time in Morelia and have traveled to 28 of Mexico's 31 states and often visit friends in Mexico City. I've lived in Mexico for nearly 30 years. I'm native-level fluent in Spanish and am a naturalized Mexican citizen. I am in no way a nervous Nellie; I go about my daily business in Morelia and other parts of Mexico with simple common sense as my companion.
Every day of the week, I read La Jornada, La Voz de Michoacán, El Informador, and a couple of other reputable, non-muckraking Spanish-language newspapers. Every day of the week, I talk to Mexicans of every socioeconomic status and keep myself as informed as possible about the situation in Michoacán and the rest of Mexico. I consider myself to be much more up-to-date and responsible in what I discuss on these boards than the general run of folks who don't live in Mexico, folks who don't live in Michoacán, folks who depend on the foreign press for their news about Mexico, and folks who don't speak or read Spanish.
My response to Neil and to you is this: Neil and his wife were lucky. He and his wife would certainly not have been targets of the violence that is rampant here in Michoacán, but they could easily have been caught (literally) in the crossfire. Several 'civilians', as the newspapers call innocent bystanders, have been killed in Morelia as they merely conducted their daily business. A 75-year-old man riding in a combi in October, a 3-year-old child holding her mother's hand on the sidewalk last month, a family hiding from gunfire in their home's bathroom here in Morelia: all were caught in narcoviolence crossfire during the last couple of months. Some died (the three-year-old and the 75-year-old man) and some were physically injured (the child's mother and the seven-month fetus she was carrying--the baby is still in neonatal intensive care) and some were terribly psychologically scarred.
Small-town drug violence is commonplace in Michoacán. A small town not far from Uruapan has become so rife with it that the entire town government AND the entire police force resigned out of fear for their lives. A Morelia friend recently asked me if I thought it were safe to make a day trip to that town. I advised him to use caution. He made his trip and reported back that the town was peaceful. That same day, a couple of decapitated bodies were found on the outskirts of that town. "Oh," he said, "I guess that's not something I noticed happening."
To say that violence in Mexico is exaggerated by the media is to hide one's head in the sand. To travel unknown back roads between unknown towns and villages is to put oneself in unnecessary danger. To say that one should blithely carry on in one's travels to Mexico--without adequate information, without adequate understanding of what daily life is here--is to mislead the traveler, no matter how 'wise and dedicated' he or she might be.
Please don't interpret my post to mean that Mr. and Mrs. Traveler should choose destinations other than Mexico. I simply mean that it's almost impossible to adequately inform oneself if you have an outsider's point of view. Without adequate information, Mr. and Mrs. Traveler have no idea what they are getting into and what the results of their uninformed travels might be.