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esperanza

Feb 8, 2010, 4:23 PM

Post #51 of 65 (11753 views)

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Re: [Peter] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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...It could be that some of our forum members and seasoned ex-pats really are concerned and justifiably taking extreme precautions in these turbulent times. And it has occurred to me it is my relative naivete of having been here less than half a decade that I am taking unnecessary risks by venturing out my front door. Worse, that I continue throwing caution to the wind and continue taking my monthly excursions to Pátzcuaro and points beyond...Perhaps by sheer luck the two ten-year-old girls smiled at me and said ¨gracias¨ then lowered the rope and let me be on my way. It could have been a lot worse.


You know, I am getting very tired of being the designated doomsday crier around here as well as being the butt of jokes. What is it that some of you don't (or won't) understand about organized crime and narco-violencia in today's Mexico? Where did you read in any of my posts that I (for one) am "taking extreme precautions in these turbulent times"? Why is it that some MexConnecters fail to understand that the war on Mexico's drug cartels has taken an enormous toll on life in Mexico, a toll that includes criminals, innocent bystanders, government officials, the Mexican army, its police at every level, et cetera? Some of you resemble a mule wearing blinders: the mule can't see what's on either side of him, so therefore it doesn't exist. What's straight ahead of him is all there is.

Like other Morelianos who post here, I myself have never SEEN Morelia's violence. I didn't SEE a grenade explode in Plaza Melchor Ocampo--but I know that it happened, on September 15, 2008. I didn't SEE the AK-47 gun battle in July 2009, five blocks from my house, but I HEARD it happen. I didn't SEE the sub-director of Public Security and two of his bodyguards shot to death with high-powered rifles, just three blocks from my house (along with a civilian riding in a combi), but I know that it happened. I have never SEEN a three-year-old baby's life snuffed out by shrapnel in a north-central Morelia colonia--but I know it happened, shortly before Christmas 2009. I didn't SEE the head in the cooler in Quiroga a couple of weeks ago, but I know that it existed.

My life in Morelia has not changed--this morning I went to the Centro Histórico for a doctor's appointment, had breakfast with friends at the Hotel Casino, went to visit a friend who lives on Calle Amado Nervo, went grocery shopping, came home, cooked comida. No extreme precautions--no precautions of any kind were necessary.

But don't you ever feel sad about the situation in Mexico today? Doesn't it seem strange to act as if nothing is wrong in the country you choose to live in--when a LOT is wrong?

Go ahead, make your jokes. And by all means, keep your heads in the sand.




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Brian

Feb 8, 2010, 4:35 PM

Post #52 of 65 (11749 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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"But don't you ever feel sad about the situation in Mexico today? Doesn't it seem strange to act as if nothing is wrong in the country you choose to live in--when a LOT is wrong? "

I think that the reality is that the gringos and the Mexicans lead parallel lives in the country. It speaks volumes that one group (which is relatively unscathed by the violence) would be so narcissistic as to view the situation in the country only through it's own experiences. But that is what they do and what they write home about...


Reefhound


Feb 8, 2010, 5:18 PM

Post #53 of 65 (11731 views)

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Re: [Peter] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Peter, things could have been much worse in the scenario you described, in many different ways. The first thing most would think of is to imagine a scene where the driver was robbed or beaten or abducted or killed. But in a climate of fear there could be other consequences as well. Imagine someone else, someone much more fearful and prone to panic, driving a car and stopped by that rope. They may have sped into the rope causing serious injury to the kids holding it or shot a couple of school girls in desperation.


Manuel Dexterity

Feb 8, 2010, 5:21 PM

Post #54 of 65 (11732 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Who is going to start shooting? Mexicans know exactly what they are dealing with. Gringos don't carry guns. Who have I left out?

And the kids drop the rope for all cars that decide not to stop.


(This post was edited by Manuel Dexterity on Feb 8, 2010, 5:34 PM)


Anonimo

Feb 9, 2010, 4:58 AM

Post #55 of 65 (11697 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Our lives here are shaped to some degree by the violence. Recently, we cancelled a trip to Zamora because of violence there. (There were other factors as well, but that was the main one.)

An amiga Norteamericana wanted to go to a fiesta near Tócuaro last week. We would have been getting home after dark. I discouraged our participation for that reason.

I wasn't present for the shootout at the Policía Federal Station at one of Pátzcuaro's busiest intersections, but I would see the bullet-riddled exterior everytime we would drive by. (It's since been repaired, but it appears unoccupied.)

A head-in-the-sand outlook which drives me to despair is when friends and online posters break out crime statistics for U.S. cities, e.g; "Washington DC is x times worse, so we must be safe in Michoacán."

My opinion is that when the bullet or grenade fragment hits you, statistics are meaningless. But realistically, we have chosen to live here, and we go about most of our daily lives without a pervasive sense of fear.

Last week as we were driving past Tzintzuntzan we came to an Army checkpoint. We slowed, but we weren't stopped for inspection. Just then, two Army vehicles came barrelling down the highway, lights flashing, in pursuit of some other vehicle. As we pulled off onto the verge, I was somewhat shaken. But in the end, nothing bad happened to us.

A year or so ago, we were in the house, preparing to drive to Pátzcuaro. I heard some noise out in our very rural street. (we are the last occupied house near the end of the pavement.) I went outside to open the gate, and to my surprise, there was an Army patrol on foot. Greetings were exchanged and I was asked a few questions, such as "Everything o.k. here? Any problems?"
Apparently, they were searchng for arms.

The outcome was reassuring, but the experience brought some of the Drug War reality right to our doorstep.

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


Hound Dog

Feb 9, 2010, 6:28 AM

Post #56 of 65 (11689 views)

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Re: [Peter] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Peter´s posting about travel in Mexico is the perfect example of misguided posturing that, while well intentioned, demonstrates why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

First, we have this excerpt:

had a similar ¨unreal¨ feeling when I read the account of one forum member´s recent annual trek south when he decided to use the new Arco Norte instead of his usual coast route in order to avoid the perils of traversing the backroads of Michoacán. I thought it may have been he was just curious about how that new route felt to drive or tired of the tedium of his usual route and didn´t mind following the trend to sensationalize a bit to justify doing something different.

Then this:

I recently made a trip out to the coast, and now in retrospect see the danger I could h
ave faced if things had turned out differently. I realize how close I came to being ambushed and shudder now to reflect back on what could have occurred if I had been less lucky. I was travelling with a friend out on the coast highway of Michoacán several miles north of Playa Azul when I slowed for a tope as I was approaching a small coastal pueblo. All of a sudden a rope was pulled up blocking my escape, and was then approached by two youths who wanted my money. I could see other people along side of the road watching all this and it appeared they were in on it also, and at that time I realized there were too many of them for us to overpower if it came to that.

I, the Dawg, am the milquetoast who elected recently to take the Arco Norte route from my home in Ajijic on Lake Chapala to my home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas rather than take the alternative route I had tentatively planned through Uruapan to Lázaro Cardenas and down the coast through Oaxaca State to Chiapas. Normally we drive to Chiapas via Mexico City and Veracruz state, not the much longer coastal route as stated by Peter. This was to be a one-time sightseeing trip. We decided that the coastal route was of only marginal interest and since we drive between Jalisco and Chiapas several times a year over various routes, we felt, with the unpredictable, seemingly random and often irrational violence taking place these days in Michoacan and the recent escalation in that violence - much of which has affected innocent bystanders in terrible and unprecedented ways - it would be prudent to postpone the coastal sojourn until our planned return to Lake Chapala in May of this year. Our decision was further based on the fact that we normally drive through the heart of Mexico city but wanted to try that new Arco Norte to ascertain if it were a feasible alternative to driving through the city.

Now, we have lived in Mexico since early 2001 and have driven countless kilometers over autopistas and back roads all over most of central and southern Mexico and we have, as a result, found ourselves in some uncomfortable situations in wilderness and urban areas including having found ourselves in the midst of a narco shootout in downtown Palenque, Chiapas with bullets flying all about us with our continued existence dependent upon the trajectory of a random bullet aimed at various combatants. We have, over time become, not more timid but wiser. I can assure Peter and others who might be reading this, that weighing the rewards of back-country travel in a war zone versus the dangers inherent in a motorist's isolaton in areas where law enforcement is marginal, non-existent or subject to local corruption is a recommended exercise. As one who lived in and traveled the back roads and woods of South Alabama and Northern California all my life, each area with many dangers for the uninitiated, I commend the old movie Deliverence to folks who tend to underestimate the dangers in traveling about in someone elses isolated stomping grounds.

As to the last comment about the young folks with their rope across the road and the question as to whether the motorist should respect that seemingly informal and random roadblock and stop to buy something or pay tribute to some cause, Dawg has witnessed many of these random "rope tricks" which are not uncommon in Southern Mexico and knows when to stop and pay an informal toll to proceed or to simply keep driving and expect the offending rope to be dropped upon the car's approach. It takes experience to figure this out, Peter, but let me give you a hint. If the rope is being held by cute little girls surrounded by other young people and selling local products, just keep going. They will drop the rope at the last minute. If, on the other hand, the rope is being held by burley Zapatistas or local villagers supporting a village cause and the rope holders are surrounded by menacing locals or other Zapatistas, stop and pay your reasonably assumed toll to proceed but be neither niggardly nor overly generous in what you proffer. You don´t want to seem either disrespectful or naive.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Feb 9, 2010, 6:54 AM)


Peter


Feb 9, 2010, 8:46 AM

Post #57 of 65 (11650 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Sorry to mis-characterize what your ¨usual¨ route is, I assumed you had made the coastal run before but I had heard you mention driving through Mexico City as well. You did, however, respond as I had hoped, with tales of road trips witnessing true dangers and the cautionary notes on how one might more prudently proceed in these circumstances. You correctly assumed you were the ¨seasoned ex-pat¨ to whom I was referring; I thought I was being obvious in that regard but did inadvertantly rattle someone else I hadn´t intended. I think I judged you as thick-skinned enough to weather the jibe, and I do earnestly thank you for your informative response. I did have the occasion once to make the drive from Uruapan to Ajijic; it´s a pleasant drive on a nice mountain highway and I would consider it the least of my concerns in making the coast run to Chiapas. I admit, though, I did that some time back in the pre-Calderón War years.

I think you did pick up on though I was being facetious about the ¨rope trick¨ scam that I do recognize there are some dangers there, and that though these stops are common enough there is the danger of a ruse to catch the unwary in this scam. As Reefhound points out, there is a danger to these girls in more extreme instances. For that perhaps I unwisely encouraged them by giving a donation, though in this instance and the other times I´ve been stopped this way they were not selling anything but seemed it was a local or family celebration and I was happy to contribute.

For Esperanza - You´ve probably realized by now I was not referring to you. You don´t mention it now but I seem to recall in the not too distant past gunfire broke out near your home, near enough to put up the danger flags. Although I had made referrence to you in another post it was because you are a fairly close neighbor and things did come too close to home for you. I wasn´t making light of your situation, it is understandable your having been there, but another responder to my post pulled you in, out of my comfort zone for that type of comment. I apologize for being party to that before the fact.

My point, in the latter part of post, was that for all the worry things are frequently innoccuous situations, though one must be careful at all times. And all may not be as peaceful as it seems.

In the extreme unfortunate, and hopefully extremely unlikely event that something would happen to you, I offer no comfort in saying it will likely come at a time and place you least expect it. God forbid.


Hound Dog

Feb 9, 2010, 10:53 AM

Post #58 of 65 (11622 views)

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Re: [Peter] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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A reasonable rejoinder, Peter. I think we all learn if we hold civil discussions.

Actually, the drive from Lake Chapala to Chiapas via Lázaro Cardenas and the Guerrero and Oaxaca coasts is a very long and often arduous drive no doubt. We´ve never driven the coast between Puerto Angel, Oaxaca and Manzanillo, Colima but when we do we´ll report our experiences on the Traveling Mexico forum.

Just for those of you who may be contemplating a drive from the Central Mexico Highlands to Chiapas, here is what you need to know:

The shortest and fastest drive is from Lake Chapala or other nearby points in the Central Highlands to Mexico City via Queretaro or Morelia and the Toluca libramiento and through the interior circuit to Puebla, Orizaba and down the Veracruz interior coastal plain to Tuxtla Gutierriez and beyond. The new Arco Norte bypassing Mexico City is longer but takes about about the same amount of time because one avoids the city traffic. My second choice, which is considerably longer is to head from Puebla City to Oaxaca City and then down through the Isthmus of Tehuantapec to Tuxtla Gutierrez and beyond. We often go that way because we have friends living near Oaxaca City and like to visit and stay with them on occasion.


Oscar2

Feb 9, 2010, 12:55 PM

Post #59 of 65 (11590 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Like other Morelianos who post here, I myself have never SEEN Morelia's violence. I didn't SEE a grenade explode in Plaza Melchor Ocampo--but I know that it happened, on September 15, 2008. I didn't SEE the AK-47 gun battle in July 2009, five blocks from my house, but I HEARD it happen. I didn't SEE the sub-director of Public Security and two of his bodyguards shot to death with high-powered rifles, just three blocks from my house (along with a civilian riding in a combi), but I know that it happened. I have never SEEN a three-year-old baby's life snuffed out by shrapnel in a north-central Morelia colonia--but I know it happened, shortly before Christmas 2009. I didn't SEE the head in the cooler in Quiroga a couple of weeks ago, but I know that it existed.


SP, the passion in which you lay your reminders on our laps is respected because we know it’s out of a sense of concern and personal remorse. I respect this and your desire to perhaps fix/change possible future outcomes by making us safe. The big question that puzzles me and probably others is how these reminders, as well as the media’s is suppose to help us do this?


Everyone has the right to an opinion such as you just voiced and with all due respect, with no offense intended to anyone, especially you, as an MC’er for close to half a decade, I will try to express my opinion, unencumbered, if possible!


The media is a “business” and they hone their proficiency at making headlines sizzle for a reason and I think we all know why, yes, to escalate newspapers sales so there advertisers will stay with an industry whose increased circulation will disseminate a greater volume of ads they pay for. I don’t mean this to be a 101 class in newspaper marketing but we should be well “aware” that this exists and it’s just the beginning. The TV news business is no different.


Now, when heinous acts against people, Morelianos in particular, when I as an MC’er get wind of this, because of living and going to Mexico for over 45 years, much of the heartfelt memories its soil has given me, out of remorse, outrage and a sense of being violated, revolting against this insanity makes me very concerned and times livid...



The question is how does one revolt? Personally and this is just my thing, I would on MC publicly reflect upon the positive for the sake of new onlookers wanting to visit Mexico. The good, the joy, the good folks I’ve met, the travel logs such as Peter, Dawg and others provide, the friends made and kept, the wonderful food, the simple 20 dollar mordida that would have cost me such a hassle in the states, the wonderful times I’ve had in Morelia and the rest of the Republic and more…


For all of this and more, I would purposely downplay the negatives on MC, knowing well these are unsettling times and the uncontrollable press will give them all the sorted details, negatively impacting the blemish given Mexico, relentlessly. This does not mean that I’d lie about the turmoil but for the benefit of prospective MC onlookers, perhaps I can share with them something a bit better, more of the positive, instead of the ongoing black eye routinely provided by the media. Dissenters are expected but if you are opposed to positive reinforcement, do so in terms of constructive criticism which simply means, if you disagree, do so with an offer of another positive alternative.


Reefhound


Feb 9, 2010, 3:04 PM

Post #60 of 65 (11569 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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The big question that puzzles me and probably others is how these reminders, as well as the media’s is suppose to help us do this?

Simple - by reminding you not to become complacent or delude yourself into seeing things as you would like them to be rather than how they are.


For all of this and more, I would purposely downplay the negatives on MC, knowing well these are unsettling times and the uncontrollable press will give them all the sorted details, negatively impacting the blemish given Mexico, relentlessly. This does not mean that I’d lie about the turmoil


A lie by omission is still a lie. Why would someone interested in Mexico be looking here on MC when surely they have already heard all about Mexico in the media? Obviously, they understand the media is about ratings (don't be so elitist to think you can see the truth of the media but the unwashed masses cannot) and that a news report only provides a sensational glimpse, one small pixel of the larger image. They are here looking for the whole picture, looking for honest information from everyday people not trying to sell them something. If they just wanted the rosy view they would order the tourist brochures.

Definitely speak of all the positives. (I'm not sure where you're even coming from with that as I've seen no shortage of positives discussed here.) But also speak of the negatives. Lay it all out there and let people decide for themselves. If they decide Mexico is not the place for them, no skin off your back. Or is it?


esperanza

Feb 9, 2010, 3:31 PM

Post #61 of 65 (11564 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Oscar, the definition of remorse is "a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs". Why would I have remorse over what is going on these days in Mexico? I haven't done anything wrong.

And I agree 100% with Reefhound's analysis of the situation, and Brian's. I think that your reasoning is very much mistaken.

If anyone has anything further to say on this thread, you have till Wednesday morning to say it. After 9AM on February 10, this thread will be locked.




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Oscar2

Feb 9, 2010, 5:40 PM

Post #62 of 65 (11541 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Simple - by reminding you not to become complacent or delude yourself into seeing things as you would like them to be rather than how they are.


Your opinion of my complacency and being delusional is your suggestion or is it another runoff the mill copout that you have no suggestion accept to say something for the sake of saying nothing.


When you state SIMPLE, does this mean seeing things the way they are to who, the guy next door, the way the news puts it or is it just possible, one can see things outside the box, outside the accustomed way of accepting things as life is in the external, the way we have grown accustomed to being in lockstep with those we “choose” to feel comfortable with?


Are you suggesting that truth or the way things are, is the way someone convinces you what truth is and/or the way things are? Should I or anyone else, see things perhaps differently than you, do you automatically consider them delusional? What is real and what is delusional and how did you come to that conclusion……thought….maybe? Someone on this forum once said, don’t believe everything you think.

Quote
Definitely speak of all the positives. (I'm not sure where you're even coming from with that as I've seen no shortage of positives discussed here.) But also speak of the negatives. Lay it all out there and let people decide for themselves. If they decide Mexico is not the place for them, no skin off your back. Or is it?


Your suggestion is suppositional. It’s implies to leave things exactly the way they are. Its popular opinion right now that we are in crises, some shriek we are in a catastrophic war and your saying that the only good window on Mexico provided by MC of those living or having lived in Mexico should parrot the news accounts of what is going on in “their” world, as if they shared their same bed? I don’t think so. In essence, according to your quote, your suggestion is to do nothing, don’t change a thing. Okay, we’ll chalk it up as your suggestion…..next? May I suggest we not turn this into a right wrong scenario? Let’s try and keep it clean and above board, not a mental brilliance contest.


If you will, may I make a suggestion, I don't care to rattle muskets, if you wish to provide a constructive positive suggestion without being confrontational, please do so and offer a different positive suggestion. If you can’t possibly conceive of anything to throw into the pot, say nothing. A nothing count means either there is nothing to suggest and/or we are still possibly stymied.


Reefhound


Feb 9, 2010, 6:05 PM

Post #63 of 65 (11534 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Your opinion of my complacency and being delusional is your suggestion or is it another runoff the mill copout that you have no suggestion accept to say something for the sake of saying nothing.

Pot, kettle, black. I used "you" in the generic sense. It's not always about Oscar, whoever you are or think you are. I didn't even read the rest of your tireless pontificating as you're not worth the time.

Out.


Oscar2

Feb 9, 2010, 6:36 PM

Post #64 of 65 (11524 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Your replay and suggestion is as expected, thanks for the confirmation.


tonyburton / Moderator


Feb 9, 2010, 6:40 PM

Post #65 of 65 (11521 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Even the criminals won't file denuncias

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Sorry, 'guys' but I'm not waiting for Esperanza's deadline tomorrow; thread is now locked. Enough has been said. Start another thread whenever you feel like it, provided the discussion is focused, and focused on Mexico.
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