Jun 15, 2010, 5:06 PM
Post #1 of 1
Since we reside in both Jalisco at Lake Chapala in West Central Mexico and in Chiapas in the high Jovel Valley (San Cristóbal de Las Casas) in Southeastern Mexico and tend to drive around a bit in both regions, we experience a number of repeated checkpoints and roadblocks in Chiapas not commonly expierenced in North Central Mexico that are carried out by the local or federal authorities or alternatively, by local ejidos or indigenous towns or political movements such as the EZLN so I thought a word to those driving there for the first time would be in order since someone on another thread has spoken naively of whether or not one should or should not run one of those intermittent obstacles.
On annoyances Endured While Driving in Southern Mexico
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First of all, and most importantly, do not succumb to the notion in Southern Mexico of running these "checkpoints" whether at modest and courteous speeds or rapid speeds reminiscent of Robert Mitchum in Thunder Road unless you have a death wish.
This person on another thread suggested the possibility of slowly running a checkpoint at which one has been signaled by a guardian of the checkpoint to pull over for questionning and inspection and I wish to discourage such an action.
In Southern Mexiico (meaning in my definition as the areas of Oaxaca and Chiapas states and the Yucatan Peninsula), one will see three types of roadside checkpoints:
* Coordinated Army, Federal Checkpoints. Serious business. If you run an army checkpoint down there you will probably round a bend and find a group of federal cops armed with automatic weapons who, in all likelihood, will fill you full of bullet holes no questions asked simply because you ran the army checkpoint.
* Ejido or Indigenous Village or Zapatista checkpoints. These are local encumbrances set up to collect money for every event from Emiliano Zapata´s birthday to the construction of local basketball courts for village schoolkids. Be prepared to donate ten pesos or so to the local´s cause or experience, alternatively, hell on earth.
* Local ejido kids selling fruits or locally produced eats. These kids will raise ropes in front of your car in order to induce you to stop but if you keep going slowly they will normally move out of your way if you are not rude about it.
About those village checkpoints. Do not try to run them as they will have placed a board across the road with nails to puncture your tires if you do not make a donation and you can believe me when I say you do not want to piss them off and then have to spend the night there. Take my word for it .
Welcome to Southern Mexico. Respect the locals and there is no nicer place on the planet. Mess with them and you lose.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jun 15, 2010, 5:49 PM)