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Brian

Jan 1, 2010, 5:24 AM

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It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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I originally appended this post to the Washington Post/Juarez thread on MexConnect. The San Diego woman was, from all reports, a law abiding person caught up in the gunfire at a Mexican restaurant. This latest article presents a strikingly similar situation. Typically, the safety advice to travelers to Mexico is to avoid driving at night, don't wear flashy clothing or jewelry, don't engage in illicit conduct etc. Will "avoid eating in public restaurants" be added to the list?

Today's newspaper provides a third recent example of an American tourist being caught up in the turmoil. Again, the victim in this case was a Mexican-American so it wont' get the press attention it would if he had been a Gringo. Of course, there will be skeptics who will surmise that he had been involved in illicit activities which lead to his death. With each innocent victim, however, that widely used canard becomes more hollow.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/...l-monte-durango.html

Brian



(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 1, 2010, 6:21 AM)



Hound Dog

Jan 1, 2010, 7:01 AM

Post #2 of 36 (7789 views)

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Re: [Brian] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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He may have been an innocent victim but who were his 4 classmates? Were they all innocent as well? It sure looks like an execution to me rather than a random attack. Sorry I do not buy they were all innocent victims. Guilty by association seems to be the word in Mexico, you have to know what your friends are up to if you want to live a long time.
The American tourist had at least one friend who got involved with the wrong people.


Brian

Jan 1, 2010, 7:21 AM

Post #3 of 36 (7783 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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"It sure looks like an execution to me rather than a random attack."

You may be right, although the recently released DEA report predicted random attacks on civilians. Historically, narco executions of other criminals have involved other things such as decapitations, messages left on the bodies and other desecrations. I don't know which of the four victims had ties to a criminal. The El Paso mother and son, the San Diego married woman or this southern California high school official? I suppose all of us, either knowingly or unknowingly, associate with someone who could be involved with illegal activity. That is a red herring.

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 1, 2010, 7:28 AM)


Reefhound


Jan 1, 2010, 8:13 AM

Post #4 of 36 (7770 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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Sounds like the other men were locals and one or more may have been a target. The gangs wield a blunt instrument and the team sent to get the target may not have known what he looked like, only informed that he was at this restaurant in a large group, so they took them all to be sure. Once they took the American guy there was no way they were going to let him go even if at some point they realized he was not involved in their business.


richmx2


Jan 1, 2010, 6:35 PM

Post #5 of 36 (7638 views)

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Re: [Brian] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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According to Malcolm Beith (formerly of the Mexico City News), that "DEA Report" may not exist. Malcolm quotes a DEA source saying there were "rumors", but no report.

http://malcolmbeith.blogspot.com/...gainst-civilians.htm

And, as far as I can tell, no real pattern of anything, other than gangsters bumping each other off, and once in a blue moon the wrong person getting killed. A lot more understandable and ... much less common... that getting shot in a 7-11 by some idiot who wants a beer and has a gun, or standing in a museum when some old geezer decides to make a statement about Jews, or a college student has a bad day, or...


http://mexfiles.net
http://editorialmazatlan.com

(This post was edited by Rolly on Jan 1, 2010, 8:04 PM)


Brian

Jan 2, 2010, 2:33 AM

Post #6 of 36 (7591 views)

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Re: [richmx2] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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To be fair, El Universal quoted an unnamed source in the DEA who stated he was not authorized to speak for the Department. Leaks such as this are not uncommon. Similarly, your source does not name the official who deems it all a rumor. CNN has reported that official spokespeople at the DEA will "neither confirm nor deny" the existence of the report.

It used to be said that the mainstream foreign press could not be trusted and was being blamed for exagerrated reporting about the drug related violence in Mexico. Now, some Mexican newspapers can be put in that category. That leaves us with the bloggers who are even less accountable for the stuff they write. The readers get what they pay for.....

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 2, 2010, 5:40 AM)


ken_in_dfw

Jan 2, 2010, 9:02 AM

Post #7 of 36 (7518 views)

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Re: [Brian] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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"That leaves us with the bloggers who are even less accountable for the stuff they write. The readers get what they pay for....."

Well, Brian, having just paid my $200 USD paper bill, it would seem I'm paying "money for nothing" and getting my "tricks for free."


Reefhound


Jan 2, 2010, 11:12 AM

Post #8 of 36 (7472 views)

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Re: [Brian] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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It's now the featured story on Fox News website and could turn into a story with legs. U.S. officials are pressing on Mexican officials at high levels to take action in solving this crime. How this all plays out could be interesting. Will it turn into a "cause celebre" in the U.S. to further characterize Mexico as a lawless and dangerous place? Will Mexican officials crack down harder? Will the gangs enjoy the publicity or decide to be more careful to avoid it?

Family Demands Answers in Killing of California School Board Member on Vacation in Mexico


Rolly


Jan 2, 2010, 11:31 AM

Post #9 of 36 (7467 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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There is a more detailed report here.

What didn't make it into the news reports is the back story. The killing was done by the Zetas because the owner had refused to pay for "protection." This is not the first such event in Gómez and Torreón. Bar and restaurant owners are really in a bind. Their business is way off because of the economy and because of fear of the Zetas. The owners are struggling to stay in business, and now the Zetas are demanding money the owners just don't have.

My poor night vision keeps me at home after dark which is probably a good thing.

Rolly Pirate


Rolly


Jan 2, 2010, 12:58 PM

Post #10 of 36 (7421 views)

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Re: [Rolly] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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A couple more comments on the LA Times article sited above.

Gómez is not in central México as the article stated.

I take umbrage at the description of Miguel Aleman Blvd as sleazy, It is not! It is the most upscale section of Gómez.

The boulevard is an 8-lane divided artery that connects Lerdo, Gómez and Torreón. It is home to nightclubs, bars and restaurants (including my favorite Chinese buffet, McD, 3 pizza stores), Soriena and Ley supermarkets, Sam's, Sears, Office Depot, 4 banks, several large car dealerships. an IMSS hospital, a university, an elementary school, and lots of other business both large and small.

Rolly Pirate


ken_in_dfw

Jan 3, 2010, 5:34 PM

Post #11 of 36 (7224 views)

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Re: [Rolly] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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Rolly, I'm so sorry to hear about this. A question if you can pardon the personal intrusion: how does your Mexican family feel about the events happening in your communities? Have they made any adjustments in the way they go about their lives?

Anyway, just wanted you to know that others are hoping and praying for better days for the Laguna area and all of México.


Rolly


Jan 3, 2010, 5:56 PM

Post #12 of 36 (7217 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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No adjustments are required. None of the family frequents bars, clubs or restaurants. Only a couple of the guys are occasional pot smokers, and most don't even drink. Beyond the family, I have only one friend who goes clubbing in Gómez, and I keep telling him he's crazy.

Of course, we all worry about what's going on around us, but we don't feel in personal jeopardy.

Rolly Pirate


chinagringo


Jan 3, 2010, 6:43 PM

Post #13 of 36 (7196 views)

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Re: [Rolly] It may not be a trend, but it does happen

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Rolly:

Funny thing about your comment about frequenting bars and clubs. In 10 years of traveling to Mexico, we have certainly gone to restaurants but have not been inclined to frequent the hotspots (bars and clubs). About a year ago, I happened to be doing the "male thing" of flipping through the channels on our TV via the remote and came across an HBO program called "Sexo Urbano". That particular program was about Guadalajara but there was a segment on Chapala and the Lakeside area. I have to say that I was shocked by what we had been missing! Had no idea of the goings on at the Lake! Given what I saw, one can safely assume that there was more going on than what meets the eye! Maybe in my younger years - but now older and supposedly wiser.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Brian

Jan 16, 2010, 12:01 PM

Post #14 of 36 (6881 views)

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Re: Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_14205512

Brian


(This post was edited by esperanza on Jan 16, 2010, 12:18 PM)


La Isla


Jan 16, 2010, 12:33 PM

Post #15 of 36 (6865 views)

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Re: [Brian] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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These lines in the story leaped out at me:

Salcedo's brother, Juan, blamed a police department bought off by drug cartels and a country on the brink of civil war.

Juan Salcedo said when he was in Gomez Palacio picking up his brother's body, residents warned him not to even talk to local police.

They also warned him and all Americans to stay away from the country, he said.

"They told us, we know our tourism will suffer, and that will trickle down to us, but they are not safe here," Juan said.


Rolly


Jan 16, 2010, 1:20 PM

Post #16 of 36 (6849 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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It's hard to know if the residents really said that or if Juan was over reacting to the tragedy. If any event, I don't agree, and I live just down the street from where it happened.

It's a shame that such tragedies result in unfair bad-mouthing of México. Sure we have problems here, but it's absurd to say all Americans are unsafe and should not come.

Rolly Pirate


La Isla


Jan 16, 2010, 1:28 PM

Post #17 of 36 (6842 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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I agree with you, Rolly, and you should know, since it happened in your neighborhood!


Brian

Jan 16, 2010, 1:36 PM

Post #18 of 36 (6839 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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Certainly the remark about Mexico being on the brink of civil war is a real stretch. With the extensive deployment of military troops in the key hotspots, not only are the criminals deterred but also any potential insurgents. But isn't it possible that, rather than lying about what he was told, Mr Salcedo's brother interpreted the remark to mean that no one is safe in the area whether resident or tourist? Just sayin'.

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 16, 2010, 1:47 PM)


geri

Jan 17, 2010, 8:33 AM

Post #19 of 36 (6734 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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Rolly, I think people tend to believe the news media re negative things more than they believe people on the ground. During our 2006 problems in Oaxaca, I certainly didn't encourage people to come here, but I could NOT convince anyone, ni family, ni friends, ni forum participants that I wasn't in great danger. Negative news sells, I guess.

I think if people believe the horrors they hear about Mexico that they shouldn't come here. If they come with a negative/scared stance, then that will affect their experience.

Keep at it. I like hearing on-the-scene reports.


chinagringo


Jan 17, 2010, 8:53 AM

Post #20 of 36 (6731 views)

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Re: [geri] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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I would have to admit that I am addicted to the news coming out of the various areas of Mexico that we tend to travel to. That said, my research is not necessarily directed towards the negative or sensationalism of the news but rather an attempt on my part to be more informed as to what we need to be aware of. By digesting that info, we can make plans to maximize our experiences without taking undue chances. Our route to the center of Mexico takes us close to the hot spots of Chihuahua and close to Rolly's area when traveling the route to Guadalajara. I pay particularly close attention to Rolly's comments and reports.

A Case in Point:
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.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



geri

Jan 17, 2010, 9:54 AM

Post #21 of 36 (6713 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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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.


esperanza

Jan 17, 2010, 11:14 AM

Post #22 of 36 (6686 views)

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Re: [geri] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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Quote
A Case in Point:
...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...

Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM

In Reply To
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

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.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









geri

Jan 17, 2010, 11:38 AM

Post #23 of 36 (6672 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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WOW....I am really dumb about what's happening in Mexico except where I am and where I'm planning to go, then I start researching. I had no idea Morelia is as you described. Sounds much worse than Oaxaca was during 2006. As near as I can figure out, only those involved in the protest (or for some reason "suspected" of being involved were jailed, captured or killed. ) The protestors used stones, broken up trash barrels etc. and targeted property (vehicles mostly) not people. When Brad Will was shot, the Feds moved in and the protest ended. Brad Will wasn't exactly an innocent bystander, not that he deserved to be killed. Thanks for taking the time to tell it like it is.

My bias: Most of the news of Oaxaca in 2006 (ALL AP news) was written by a journalist who wasn't here and who, in fact, was on the Governor's staff (or working for the governor). Both of them were in Mexico City. She finally got fired from AP over this. AT least that is my information. I certainly discouraged people from coming here and not many did. I mainly needed to reassure people that I was safe.

Mexico is so fantastic, so many different cultures, venues, destinations etc. (you know what I mean) woven into one country. I live in Oaxaca and only travel to other places, so I don't pretend to know more than a traveler, except in Oaxaca. I have people on-the-ground to keep me posted when I visit Puerto Escondido.


esperanza

Jan 17, 2010, 11:46 AM

Post #24 of 36 (6669 views)

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Re: [geri] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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Oaxaca in 2006 was a walk in the park compared to the narcoviolencia in many Mexican states that started in 2007. Just as a point of comparison, more than 16,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since Pres. Calderón took office in December 2006. Sixty-nine were assassinated last weekend alone.

Sixteen thousand and counting.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Brian

Jan 17, 2010, 11:51 AM

Post #25 of 36 (6668 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Investigation into Salcedo murder continues with few answers

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esperanza, you have expressed, better than could I, the real disconnect between the perceptions of safety (or lack thereof) on the part of different people who love Mexico. Much of what I know about the country was derived during my time in Tijuana but, more importantly, from my Mexican and Mexican-American relatives. I was going to write that when gringos say they feel "safe", Mexicans would describe as " being lucky". You said it first. Much is written here, and on other message boards, about Mexico bashing by the United States press. Well, I am going to be honest and say the harshest critics of the current state of Mexico are not the idiots who leave comments at the bottom of news reports on Drudge and Huffington Post. They are people like my sister-in-law who stopped going to visit her husband's family in Torreon even before Calderon declared war on the cartels and sent in the troops. She saw what she thought to be a deterioration of societal values not unlike what has been happening over the years NOB but with more violent consequences. Coincidently, a blogger in San Miguel has posted a link which is most appropriate to this message thread. Are the Mexican-Americans perhaps overreacting as has been suggested in one of the earlier posts? Are they cursed and unable to truly appreciate Mexico because they lack the innocence and naivety of gringos who are happy because, in part, they don't read the papers and can't understand what is being reported on the radio either? I really don't understand any difference between the Mexican-Americans who have stopped coming down out of admitted fear and Rolly's Mexican neighbors who don't go out at night, even to restaurants anymore. That just doesn't sound safe to me.

http://www.latimes.com/...0,1708572,full.story

Brian


(This post was edited by esperanza on Jan 17, 2010, 11:58 AM)
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