Fall 2012: how is travel safety in Mexico?
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Mar 4, 2013 5:46 AM Last Post By: enroutesiglo
Sep 16, 2012 5:38 PM
30It's pretty easy to get caught in the semantics... I do think that "millions of visitors experience absolutely no violence" is a pretty indisputable (IMO) fact, though obviously it's not too sensitive to that one guy who got shot in the butt. I didn't, on the other hand, write that "no tourists were affected" as stated above – it's funny how easy it is for people to attribute quotes to others when the evidence downthread doesn't bear that out.
I actually said it "might be useful" to ask scaremongers to come up with actual cases of violence against tourists, because once you really sit down and try to do that, the scarcity of them becomes crystal clear.
Of course there have been a few, and not one person has suggested that there haven't been. The point is that the fact that it is so difficult to come up with even a two or three stories about foreign tourists getting hurt over the last several years – although there are a small handful of cases – is no accident: as visitor to the country, you are statistically as safe or safer than you are at home, for a number of reasons.
Sep 16, 2012 5:46 PM
31Plus #26 is being a bit ingenuous as always: as you would probably expect, actually Googling those names you will find 1) some of them were missionaries who actively and publicly defied the cartels, 2) others were visiting family and had local connections where they were killed, 3) Another one ran a roadblock while doing construction work in sensitive areas. These are your scare stories? All that research and you can't find a single major incident involving simple foreign vacationer. Odd, no?
(to be fair, the same poster earlier said that there is 'no appreciable risk' for travelers passing through, which is a bit more on the nose)
Tourists don't openly defy the cartels or run roadblocks while working in the area. They don't have family connections in areas of unrest. There may not be an "official" hands off policy on tourists and casual visitors, but the evidence is pretty damn clear that they have an uncanny way of not getting into trouble when they're minding their own business.
Sep 17, 2012 5:54 AM
32enroutesiglo: in post #2 you wrote: "...AFAIK there hasn't been a single story of a tourist getting killed, kidnapped, or otherwise had their vacation time violently dampened."
This is a statement you made and which I quoted. And in post #30 you write, "... it's funny how easy it is for people to attribute quotes to others when the evidence downthread doesn't bear that out. Huh? You wrote the statement, I quoted it.
So, you've gone from writing that the tourist was grazed to being shot in the butt. I find your way of writing about the incident very callous. I'll repeat, he was shot, not grazed. He was shot in the leg and required surgery. He was flown home to Canada. You can be dismissive about the incident by writing he was shot in the butt, or that he wasn't a tourist, but those aren't the facts.
So, I'll ask again, what's your angle?
Markharf: I'm with you regarding polarizing positions being unhelpful, be they scaremongering or dismissive of real incidents.
Sep 17, 2012 7:14 AM
33We could argue semantics till the cabras come home but you're really just making the point more clearly right now: violence against foreigners is so rare that you need to go back a while and play with the definition of "tourist" to even find any, then make a martyr out of a guy who himself said it was no big deal and wouldn't stop him from living there.
I'll even do you one better and say that a handful of Canadians have had brushes with violent crime and/or in Mexico over the last 5 years, pretty much all of them residents AFAIK (including the one last year who was called a "elderly" by the esteemed national broadcasters last January despite being only 60-ish – the one who fought back against thieves in Melaque). It's unfortunate as it is rare.
It seems like we're actually in agreement though when it comes down to it, despite the wording. Serious violence against tourists in Mex is virtually non-existent, while snowbirds and residents have indeed experienced a few isolated incidents of violent crime over the last few years, as they have in every country in which they live.
So I guess you could say my angle is impressed that the country can manage that record at such an otherwise difficult time, and a belief that this has roots in its unique culture of hospitality. Then again, I've been wrong (not to mention shot at) before.
Sep 17, 2012 11:57 AM
34Getting back to the grazed Canadian... many of our Canadian residents here in Mazatlán go "home" periodically (to maintain their national health insurance coverage and, in some cases, their pension payments) and are considered "tourists" by their government... and would be so described in that country's newspapers.. The Canadian media, for whatever reason, tends to be particularly alarmist about Mexico, and reports even auto accidents as if they were some sort of criminal conspiracy. No one says the fellow wasn't hit, nor that he didn't go to Canada for medical treatment (a decision seemingly driven more by insurance coverage than medical necessity), only that you are barking up the wrong tree trying to use this as "evidence" of dangers to tourists.
Even Alta... who errs on the side of caution, would likely agree with me that the dangers in his part of Mexico are more towards those who live and work in the area and come in contact with gangsters as part of their daily routine (even if such contact is unintentional... as with the missionaries shot on a road not likely to be traveled by tourists).
And, when you come down to it, considered Mexico is a very large country, and the largest tourism destination in the world, the odds are very much against any individual running into more than the routine problems that happen to people anywhere. As I've pointed out before, violence against tourists (and even foreign nationals) is still national news in this country.
Sep 17, 2012 3:14 PM
35Rich----I wasn't planning to post any more on this thread, but I will answer your question. First, there was nothing disingenuous about my response in #26. Foreign travelers have been victims of cartel violence in the northern Frontera and it is simply a misstatement of fact to imply otherwise. The OP quoted parts of the UK advisory that specifically mentioned the border states which is why I referred to the foreigners who have been murdered.
I agree that statistically the chance of a foreign visitor whether they be a tourist, business traveler or Mexican ex-pat returning home to visit family is small, even here in the Frontera. But it's not necessary to exaggerate or make misleading statements to make that point.
If the cartels present an increased risk to people in the Frontera, it is not because the daily routine brings people into contact with "gangsters." It is is simply because they have more exposure to local conditions just through living here. If TOURISTS are going to drive through the Frontera they can minimize the already slight risk by avoiding the secondary roads and lightly travelled rural areas. Local residents do avoid certain areas and certain roads, but the situation is not that neatly compartmentalized.
Sep 18, 2012 9:10 AM
36Didn't mean to drag you against your will back into this... "contact with gangsters" in the broadest sense... like living in the same neighborhood, shopping at the same market, walking your dog the same park (don't laugh... my pooch was good buddies with a couple of guys I didn't know worked as hit-men). Certainly, more exposure increases the risk of being a victim, and one tries to minimize risks, but the risk for the casual visitor in the normal scheme of things is negligible.
Everyone has their own comfort zones, and perhaps our gangsters are better behaved than yours, but I don't much worry about my "casual" contacts all that much. Going to a nightclub where they are likely to hang out? Now that I'd think about twice.
Sep 18, 2012 3:35 PM
37enroutesiglo, regarding incidents of violence against tourists you wrote, "Of course there have been a few, and not one person has suggested that there haven't been." (post #30)
Actually, you suggested just that "...AFAIK there hasn't been a single story of a tourist getting killed, kidnapped, or otherwise had their vacation time violently dampened." (post #2)
RichTX1, you wrote, "many of our Canadian residents here in Mazatlán go "home" periodically (to maintain their national health insurance coverage." and also, "No one says the fellow wasn't hit, nor that he didn't go to Canada for medical treatment (a decision seemingly driven more by insurance coverage than medical necessity)..."
Fyi, to maintain their medical coverage Canadians must be resident in Canada for a minimum of six months and a day per year. If he was covered by Canadian medicare he was not a permanent resident of Mexico, as you maintain.
you guys are inconsistent.
Sep 18, 2012 5:45 PM
38#37, just stop it. "having your vacation time violently dampened" is a phrase I invented and it means exactly what I intended it to mean... it doesn't include petty crime, and obviously meant to be in the league of getting killed or kidnapped while on vacation. Second of all, you're having an extremely hard time finding any examples of actual tourists, ie. people visiting the country to visit for a short time and not living, preaching, working, or visiting family there.
There's a reason why you can't find any cases of that no matter how hard you try, and we all know what it is. Hey, keep looking... I'm sure you'll be here with a full expose and deets from the Nat. Broadcasters next time someone else gets popped in the backside.
Sep 19, 2012 6:16 AM
39#38, just stop what? Pointing out your inconsistencies? Ask most people and they'll agree that being shot in the leg during a drive-by shooting is having your vacation time violently dampened.
I'm not trying at all to find any more cases because you can't even acknowledge the gravity of this example. You wrote it happened years ago (it was 2011), that he was grazed (he was shot), that he wasn't a tourist (he was a snowbird).
I suggest that most people who come on this forum looking for info about safety wouldn't be reassured by posters who are dismissive of a tourist being shot, let alone making ridiculous statements such as no tourists have been affected by violence.
Since you consider tourists "...people visiting the country to visit for a short time..." maybe in future you can tell people exactly how long that is (not more than a month, two?) and let all the snowbirds know they're no longer tourists.
I've visited Mexico many times and plan to visit again, maybe even as a snowbird one day. I'm not a scaremonger but neither do I find it acceptable that violence is treated dismissively, not only in relation to tourists but because it can create a blase attitude in general toward unacceptable incidents. In my books, being shot is a major event, and some of you write about it in a very callous way ( he was grazed, no biggie). Really? I find that disturbing.
Sep 19, 2012 7:23 AM
40I too am glad that we are in complete agreement that any incidents of major violence against foreigners are extremely, extremely rare, virtually unheard of, and that you can find approximately zero cases involving tourists when the definition of a tourist does not include "lives there." No killings, no kidnappings, just an occasional pain in the butt.
Getting popped in the ass probably isn't the nicest thing that can happen in your town of residence, but you've got to hand it to that Canadian who brushed it off like it was nothing and made a point out of saying how he wasn't bothered by it – they really broke the mold when they made you folks.
Sep 19, 2012 7:51 AM
41you too are glad we're in agreement?? Huh, what are you reading? For the record, I disagree with you on several points that I won't bother repeating yet again.
Earlier you asked what my angle is. Now, I'm suspicious of yours. I have no financial interests related to tourism in Mexico ( no property to rent, no tours to hawk, etc.). I acknowledge the good and the bad...and getting shot is bad.
Sep 19, 2012 8:05 AM
42getting shot is bad
Clearly we are in complete agreement.
I have no financial interests related to tourism in Mexico
I'm sorry to hear that. I, OTOH, come on Thorn Tree to promote my line of Canadian-only bed and breakfasts in Tepito. Our slogan is "Pipe down, it's just a flesh wound," which brings us a lot of business combined with what I do on here.
Sep 19, 2012 4:40 PM
43#42, hee, hee. Good one.
An Internet friend, I met her when I was in the States, she was living as host daughter exchange student with the woman who was my host daughter 18 years ago. An excellent example of Mexican womanhood.
She is working in the state of Guanajuato in a city I never heard of. This morning, a few minutes before she got to work, they had an enfrentamiento a block away. Two druggies killed. No tourists or expats harmed. It will probably not make Mexican news.
Sep 19, 2012 7:50 PM
44Grrrr. I live in Mexico about half of the year these days and I wish I had a dollar for every time well-meaning friends and relatives have said, "You know, I am terrified for you and I wish you wouldn't go to Mexico anymore. It's so unsafe."
Hmmm. I guess they don't know that Vancouver, British Columbia is the drug capital of Canada. They also don't know that Phoenix, Arizona is the kidnapping capital of the U.S.
Yes, there are drug problems in Mexico. However, some of the stories that people hear are totally distorted in the press in the U.S. and Canada. I know a lot of Americans and Canadians who speak Spanish fluently and they read the Mexican newspapers and computer updates on a daily basis, in Spanish.
About a year ago, the story on the internet was that 2 Canadian vacationers were suddenly killed while they were sitting at their hotel's pool, by drug cartel members, for no reason. Actually, they were 2 guys from Vancouver who were heavily entrenched in the drug trade and they decided it would be a good idea to try to ease their way into a Mexican drug cartel. (How high were they when they dreamed up this plan?) They went to PV and they rented an apartment in a very non-tourist area for about a year. They must have been doing OK during that year and may have been making inroads into a cartel.
Evidently, they must have crossed someone high up in a cartel. One day, both were shot execution-style and left in the apartment. Just like the Mafia in the U.S. used to do.
A lot of the drug violence you and your loved ones hear about has absolutely nothing to do with tourists or residents from other countries. That said, when I'm in Mexico, I try to maintain a pretty low profile. I don't wear things like Chicago Bears t-shirts or hats, etc. For me, though, I do that so the timeshare salespeople don't single me out as a prospect.. Of course, it's not a good idea to be wandering around drunk or high in the middle of the night. Doing that, you're looking for trouble, wherever you are in the world.
Yes, there are problems, even in touristy areas, but they are very "targeted". The intent is not to kill or injure tourists or any other non-Mexicans. IMO, the drug violence in Mexico is a lot like the Mafia gang violence in the U.S. used to be. (Has anyone seen "The Godfather" lately"?)
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.15 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night
San FranciscoBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$19.40 per night