What the tourists miss

My folks just flew back last night after a month-long stay in Mexico. Amongst the places they visited, either with me or alone, were Oaxaca, Puebla and Acapulco.

‘I don’t understand it,’ my father kept telling me.

‘I mean you read all this stuff about violence in Mexico, and yet they seem like such a gentle, nice, kind people,’ was his assessment after a couple of weeks living in Distrito Federal, just off Reforma.

Just the ramblings of an average, non-Spanish speaking tourist, but I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony of this words as we walked along the street past a newspaper stand, where on at least three of the front pages I could see gory photographs of deaths by shootings that had happened over the last 24 hours.

This week the mainstream media reported that just on Monday more than 14 people were killed in Mexico, and that 105 have been murdered since the beginning of the year. http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/157025.html

This morning, Reuters, the Los Angeles Times and the local press reported that gunmen killed eight people in Tijuana yesterday; just a week after President Calderon stepped up security in the border city in an attempt to beef up the Government’s fights against the drugs trade in the county.

Three were police officers, one of which was shot dead along with his wife and nine-year old daughter. Another civilian man was shot dead whilst asleep, and his wife and three year old child were also killed in what police are saying was a case of mistaken identity.

And a gory headline in today’s The News said that since the end of December six decapitated heads have been recovered from the area around Mexico City and the neighboring state of Mexico. Local press have linked the killings to seizures of drugs by the authorities and El Universal says that the Attorney General’s Office said a war is currently being waged between organized crime bosses around Mexico’s international airport.

It would appear the tourists miss the served heads lying around under their noses as they fly in to enjoy Mexico’s sun, sea and tacos. Probably just as well.

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4 Responses

  1. Mexico is a nice, gentle country filled with good people. All the violence you mention here is sensationslized mass media. The average Mexican’s life isn’t touched by that hatred fuel. We are counting on you to keep up a stream of good press!

  2. I don’t think it’s the job of any serious journalist to pump out “good press” just because it suits the whims of ex-pats or real estate speculators, David.

  3. I agree Daniel.

    David, I write what I see and feel and find out. That’s all I can offer you.

  4. I wonder, if all drug cartel related murders were subtracted from the total would Mexico appear to be any worse that the US or even some western European countries.

    The DF has been surprisingly spared from the most extreme cartel related violence — until recently. The federal government seems to be ineffectual. I have a lot of faith in this city and think we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands to stop the violence before it becomes the norm. I wish I knew how.

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