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Brian

Oct 5, 2010, 6:08 AM

Post #1 of 48 (12195 views)

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You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Or if all you read are english language articles about how Mexico's high incidence of violent crime is confined to the border zone. Residents of places like San Miguel decry the fact that US news sources have lead people to believe that the area is full of kidnappers. They vilify the wealthy SMA couple who participated in a network television program that depicted his kidnapping and traumatic confinement until a ransom was paid. Instead, they repeat the mantra that the region in which they live is safe and that that crimes which appear to be related to organized crime are really "personal matters" in which the victim was not completely innocent and whose hands were not clean. The Valseca matter and the recent unsolved murder of a middle-aged businesswoman are examples.

A SMA blog site, in response to a question about the safety of travel to the area, has dragged out the immensely popular article by Linda Ellerbee who, while acknowledging the violence at the border, expresses how much safer she feels in Puerto Vallarta than she would in New Orleans. What a comparison! And no matter that the article describes the situation as it was nearly two years ago.

Comparisons are, as they say, odious. But they also indicate red flags. The state of Guanajuato, in which SMA is centerally located, ranks sixth nationally in the rate of kidnapping. In that respect, it can be compared to Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas whence all the current border violence news is eminating. People need to understand that the current power struggle between the Mexican government and organized crime is being fought throughout the entir Republic and not just the drug smuggling "plazas" in the north. There, many innocent people are the victims of news-catching explosions, roadblocks and gunbattles. In the Bajio and other central states, they are more likely to be kidnapped or extorted. It just doesn't make for sensational headlines but it is a fact nevertheless.

http://correo-gto.com.mx/notas.asp?id=187824


(This post was edited by Rolly on Oct 5, 2010, 7:41 AM)



Peter


Oct 5, 2010, 6:38 AM

Post #2 of 48 (12173 views)

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Re: [Brian] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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So, what is your point?


Bad things can happen
Read more Mexican news articles
Don't think it can't happen to you
Life in Mexico two years ago is in no way like it is today
Take precautions
Mexico can be dangerous
Don't leave your home
Move back to the US
Ha ha ha, stupid Gringos
Live in fear

Did I miss anything?


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 5, 2010, 6:40 AM)


joaquinx


Oct 5, 2010, 6:48 AM

Post #3 of 48 (12167 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Peter, I believe you forgot to mention the "Chicken Little Effect." If it's bad news, exaggerate it like Fox News who have been scaring white people since 1996.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Brian

Oct 5, 2010, 7:00 AM

Post #4 of 48 (12156 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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In Reply To
So, what..?

Did I miss anything?


Did you know that Guanajuato is on a par with Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon with respect to the rate of kidnappening? Perhaps, but I bet a lot of other people didn't.


bournemouth

Oct 5, 2010, 7:02 AM

Post #5 of 48 (12155 views)

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Re: [Brian] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Brian - what is you would have us do to satisfy your need that we acknowledge we are aware of dangers around us?
Life goes on, no matter where we are and we might as well enjoy it as much as we can. Running, screaming, for the border won't do much good will it. I choose to go about my life as usual, being as aware as possible.


Peter


Oct 5, 2010, 7:28 AM

Post #6 of 48 (12146 views)

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Re: [Brian] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Did you know that Guanajuato is on a par with Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon with respect to the rate of kidnappening? Perhaps, but I bet a lot of other people didn't.


I didn't know that. Guanajuato is the next state over from me, that is interesting. Kinda got buried in the report.


Brian

Oct 5, 2010, 7:33 AM

Post #7 of 48 (12141 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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I'm sorry. I have a problem editing my posts when using an IPad. Rolly or esperanza, could you please make the link to the news article live. And thank you, Peter.


Brian

Oct 7, 2010, 9:44 AM

Post #8 of 48 (11979 views)

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Re: [Brian] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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As a followup,Speaking of where the problem lives, I would like to offer some food for thought. It is a given that the poor economy coupled with the near cataclysmic drop in tourism has negatively impacted the quality of life for sanmiguelenses, especially the native Mexicans. Gringos, most of whom have limited ability to communicate in spanish do not have adequate access to the news media. It is understandable, therefore, that they draw conclusions about what is happening around them based on limited information.

Many are now saying that there has been a dramatic increase in the closing of businesses, many of which were very well established. They attribute this to the reduction in tourist income. Fair enough, but that is not the whole story. There is a very big elephant in the room. Un secreto a voces as the Mexicans say. Even casual perusers of the Mexican press are aware of a phenomenon which has been going on in the cities which surround SMA and which are not primarily dependent upon tourism. They likewise, are seeing proprietors shutting their doors, going out of business and, in many cases moving their families out of the area. The news articles are clear, as are the included readers' comments that they have been the victims of extortion by organized crime groups. For the past two weeks, there has been a plethora of news articles about empresarios who have been kidnapped or killed in the surrounding area by La Familia. Like I said, this is just food for thought. And until the police solve the assasination of SMA businesswoman, Rosa Espino, the likelihood that she was a victim of a hit by La Familia grows.

http://alertaperiodistica.com.mx/...urantero-en-len.html

Edited to create live link.


(This post was edited by esperanza on Oct 9, 2010, 6:28 PM)


sally.bender

Oct 9, 2010, 5:34 PM

Post #9 of 48 (11804 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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I just joined this group and the first thing I see is another scary post from Brian. Check the other posts of Brian, on this group and any other group about Mexico, and you will notice that all his posts are about the bad news of Mexico. Yes, just like Fox News. Maybe MexConnect should have a new FORUM named Bad News, just for Brian to scare people.


esperanza

Oct 9, 2010, 6:32 PM

Post #10 of 48 (11786 views)

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Re: [sally.bender] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Brian and a very few other people on MexConnect are willing to speak out about the elephant in the living room. However, almost no one here is willing to notice the existence of the pachyderm. I've pretty much given up posting about it.

Some folks just need to live in an alternate reality, where truth doesn't intrude.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Peter


Oct 10, 2010, 1:20 AM

Post #11 of 48 (11742 views)

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Re: [esperanza] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Brian and a very few other people on MexConnect are willing to speak out about the elephant in the living room. However, almost no one here is willing to notice the existence of the pachyderm. I've pretty much given up posting about it.

Some folks just need to live in an alternate reality, where truth doesn't intrude.


A number of folks insist on bringing the circus into our living rooms. I think most of us are aware of dangers that lurk in the bush outside our homes and the chances that some elephant could come crashing through our door one day, though that likelihood is rather remote. Granted, we hear about periodic sightings of said pachyderm and should be mindful of the attendant danger should we get caught in a stampede or dare to get too close to the beast, but there are more present and persistent perils that are just part of living.

The reality is that living in this savannah has provided me a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. There is so much beauty and diversity to be found here it outweighs the risks. There were risks living in the land I came from as there will be no matter where you are. The alternate reality, where truths are projected to appear very intrusive, is when that circus is being promoted. They want you to be able to see and smell that elephant sitting in your recliner eating peanuts. They're not satisfied if your not feeling the crunch of those peanut shells beneath your feet as you stroll through your living room.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 10, 2010, 1:22 AM)


chinagringo


Oct 10, 2010, 8:02 AM

Post #12 of 48 (11712 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Peter:

For yourself, a Morelia resident for a number of years and benefiting from actual experience, these warnings and discussions may seen redundant and alarmist. I am guessing that because of your relationship with Tere, you are closer to the "local drumbeats". To some degree, sure there are knowledgeable/experienced Mexico residents that also fit this category and probably get sick and tired of all this type conversation. However, there are two other categories of people, who are members on this forum and rely to some degree on the information contained within:

1) Full or part time residents or want-a-bees , who can only be described as amateurs since they have minimal experience or have learned nothing from the experiences they have had. I would suggest that areas with high concentrations of Gringos living a Gringo lifestyle, such as Lake Chapala, is a microcosm of this type. In my estimation, there is a majority there who will never know Mexico or even care to understand what is going on around them. These are the typical "Ostriches" that myself, Esperanza and others refer to. They are also the ones most vulnerable to becoming a statistic because their lack of knowledge.
2) Mexico travelers, who may be making a short vacation trip or an extended trip driving an RV or some other vehicle. This group may tend to be more of a vagabond type, who don't typically concentrate their visits to one small geographic area.

When members post candid, honest and accurate information, they provide the information for readers to gain some knowledge and when digested properly can be the basis for intelligent and informed decisions. I cringe when I read where a long time resident, who has written a book and acts as a forum moderator(another forum) constantly minimizes and poo-poos the situation. One day, that person will end up with blood on his hands but it probably won't matter to him since he won't have known the affected party.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



ken_in_dfw

Oct 10, 2010, 11:07 AM

Post #13 of 48 (11665 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Neil,

Thanks for making this distinction in audiences here at MexConnect. I agree that some of the long-timers may forget that there are quite a number of either silent or occasional posters who are less informed and therefore less aware of the entire picture. Those of you who are well acculturated with significant local relationships may find the information to be tedious or overwrought. But those of us who only occasionally travel or who regularly travel but do not speak the language or have the local relationships depend on specific, first-hand, actionable advice about various areas of Mexico.

I am not a fan of "the sky is falling, the sky is falling," generic, fear-laden missive. That type of non-information is simply emotional purging and is not helpful on this type of forum. So I tend to tune out that kind of posting.

But I am an avid reader of detailed information that lets me know which areas are suddenly experiencing a plague of retenes because the local thugs haven't been paid this month and are trolling for opportunities. And if there are a sudden swarm of balaceras because one capo got taken out and another cartel is now moving in, I am grateful for the information.

So to Esperanza, Altahabana, Brian and all the others who publish specific information that helps me be better informed and safer when travelling about the country, I want to publicly thank you and encourage you to continue posting.

Ken


Peter


Oct 10, 2010, 11:17 AM

Post #14 of 48 (11665 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Visitors coming to Mexico that are going to wander very far beyond their Cancun hotel with paquete de todo incluido probably need to be warned of a few things like... where to start? This definitely ain't Kansas anymore.

That elephant is a little hard to miss. Even if you don't see one yourself there has been plenty of coverage by the media. Most people have seen news photos of what can happen when that elephant steps on someone. Fortunately for most visitors or residents most of the pachyderm incidents that occur happen to those who routinely handle the beast or those who do not heed the most emphatic warnings. Thankfully those latter incidents are relatively rare.

Those who give their full attention to looking out for the elephants tend to not notice the numerous monkeys running around ringside. Though these monkeys are not as immediately deadly they are much more numerous and mischievous and it is they that can be much more pernicious and destructive.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 10, 2010, 11:31 AM)


Bethie

Oct 10, 2010, 1:12 PM

Post #15 of 48 (11634 views)

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Re: [sally.bender] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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having family in veracruz and monterrey, i am thankful for all news good or bad,


arbon

Oct 10, 2010, 5:32 PM

Post #16 of 48 (11592 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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“In Mexican culture, the less we identify problems, the more we live in peace.” - Mexican Police Chief

¿Has any one been keeping count of the number of Mexican Police Chiefs that have been killed?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



chinagringo


Oct 10, 2010, 5:38 PM

Post #17 of 48 (11588 views)

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Re: [arbon] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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It seems that being a mayor might be inviting a shorter lifespan than a police chief. Another one bought the farm in Oaxaca on Friday.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 5:56 PM

Post #18 of 48 (11369 views)

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Re: [esperanza] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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I am not trying to scare anyone, white or otherwise. This is the truth. Not as I see it but as I live it. You must agree that too many people try to make a go of it here because of the stupid tourist magazines. I have been robbed TWICE. Once at gun point a block from the cop shop and once at work where the guy actually punched me in the face. That is in addition to what happened to my parents last year in the home invasion. Also, the grandson of my parents best friends was kidnapped for ransom 4 years ago. Thank God we got him back alive. But only after a HUGE ransom was paid. It was a local job, everyone knows who did it and no one has ever been or ever will be punished. Get real. Keep your head in the sand and your ass will end up in a sling. These people DO NOT look out for their fellow man. You are on your own. And no, my name is not Chicken Little


Peter


Oct 15, 2010, 6:58 PM

Post #19 of 48 (11356 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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It would seem that pachyderm most people are worked-up has so far passed you by but it does appear you have made acquaintance with the monkeys I mention in my last post. Yes, they can be quite troublesome. Between this and another thread you outline some of the worst horror stories I warn people about. For some reason these monkeys seem to have your friends' and family's name and address and are definitely on your back. Why is that do you think?

When you take an aggregate of all the bad things that can happen it seems most of them have already happend to you and the people you know. You mention some of these people are wealthy, have they been flaunting their wealth? Are they taking too many chances and letting too many people in their homes and inviting these incidents?

You and yours seem to have more than your share of these misfortunes, way more than laws of averages should allow. It amazes me you are still here. What is the upside? What is still keeping you here in this godforsaken hellhole?


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 7:28 PM

Post #20 of 48 (11353 views)

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Re: [Peter] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Why am I still here? How much time do you have.... No, they do not flaunt. The homeowners of the house where my parents were that night are an extremely wealthy family and everyone knows it. Flaunt? No, there is just no hiding it. My parents worked themselves half to death for 35 years to retire part time in this town. My dads town. The local yokals all know that Tabo made it good in the States. That said, I should be able to walk around with a million bucks taped to my ass and not get robbed. But alas, this is not Gringolandia.
I really am not trying to scare anyone. Just want people to know that they need to do a hell of a lot more than read travel mags. Central Mex, as you know, is NOT little America once you venture outside of SMA. Different culture is an understatement and I am a travel and different culture savvy girl. I spent about 1/4 my childhood in Exuma.
There are many many things here that can shock the shit out of some homogonized white bread gringo. It can be fun, it can be a lot of things but what I want people to understand is that you are ON YOUR OWN HERE. They do not look out for their fellow man and charity or helping your neighbors is NOT taught and/or encouraged at home.
Just trying to help people avoid finding out the bad shit the hard way. Don't do it the hardway, I already did and suffered enough for both of us.
Forgot to mention that the grandson of the above mentioned friends was kidnapped and brutalized 4 years ago. Right off the streets of SJI. We got him back alive but only after paying a major ransom. We live everyday with the knowledge of EXACTLY who did this, living near them and seeing them almost daily and the further knowledge that they will NEVER be punished.
Think about it....


Bennie García

Oct 15, 2010, 7:56 PM

Post #21 of 48 (11347 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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That is a real drag about your parents. Must have been terrifying.

My knowledge of this country didn't come from travel mags. Been here since long before Al Gore invented the internet so forget about forums such as this. Cancun and Ixtapa didn't exist. No toll roads. No FM3s to make it easy for gringos to live here full time. I have a different story to tell. Some bad but most good.

I especially take offense at your ridiculous generalizations of this country and particularly of the people. Your claim about not teaching charity at home is an absurd generalization. I speak as the father of 3 Mexican children and they were not raised in the manner in which you speak. Nor were their many relatives.

Something in your story sounds a bit curious. If your friends have all that much money they must have some influence in the community or even maybe at a higher level. So to say they have no recourse against the kidnappers is hard to believe. At the very least it would take only a fraction of what they paid to have them killed.

Shouldn't bother them much. According to you Mexicans could care less about causing others harm. Why have they waited so long?


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 8:22 PM

Post #22 of 48 (11344 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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My goodness. That reply was a bit dramatic. But, every group needs one I guess. I take offence to the notion that any of what I have written is not true. These are wealthy people, but they are not reigning monarchs. It takes a lot to get anything done here. If they don't catch you red handed the chance of ever getting caught is slim to none. I am sure you know that.
I should have clarified about "them" not teaching charity at home, being on your own and your neighbors not watching out for you and so on.... What I should have said is that ANYWHERE on earth where people are poor and desperate and having enough to do to keep their own heads above water on a daily basis is where you will find yourself on your own. Without your neighbor looking out for you and without charity being taught at home as a way of life. Mexico just happens to be one of those places.
I am sure your family is delightful and my intent is/was not to offend you or anyone else. Mexican, Gringo or otherwise. Merely point out the very obvious and dangerous stuff that happens here. A lot. To point it out to an audience of people who are accustomed to HAVING THE POLICE ACTUALLY COME WHEN YOU CALL THEM.
Get over yourself. Mexico living is no day at the beach. Not by any stretch of the imagination.....


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 8:26 PM

Post #23 of 48 (11340 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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Been here since long before Al Gore.... Been where? SMA? If the answer is yes, then I rest my case.


Bennie García

Oct 15, 2010, 9:17 PM

Post #24 of 48 (11333 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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In Reply To

Get over yourself. Mexico living is no day at the beach. Not by any stretch of the imagination.....


As far as what you say isn't true, I wasn't implying you were lying. But you come across like you know everything and it is as obvious as the pixels on the screen that is far from the truth.

I am quite content living here. In almost 40 years I haven't had anywhere near the problems you've had in ....how much time did you say you've been here?


Reefhound


Oct 15, 2010, 9:54 PM

Post #25 of 48 (11323 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] You can't see the red flags if your head is in the sand

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I have to say, if someone robbed me or kidnapped a family member, and I knew positively who did it, and the police would not do anything about it, justice would be done. They would mysteriously disappear one day... assuming they didn't turn up headless hanging from a bridge. And I would sleep well, one has the ethical right to self defense... and it IS self defense because if one thing is certain it's that thugs who get away with crimes will continue to commit crimes and usually revisit the easy marks.
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