The Space for Expatriates
On Violence in Mexico
A member of Mexico-My Space recently inquired about violence in Mexico and more specifically the Puerto Vallarta/Bucerias area. This was my response. I have expanded it from the actual email response to her.
I'm sorry about not getting back to you sooner but Sunday was a crazy, busy day.
Did you know that I do not currently reside in Mexico? I did live there for 7 years, in Ensenada. There's more complete info on my bio/profile page.
I will address your question on violence in Mexico but I cannot limit my response to Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias. It is hot possible to give a short answer because the question needs more attention than I originally thought.
The Problems With Anaysis & Predictions
I live in Tucson, Arizona. Our modest home has a swimming pool and that's my ocean. We have two large Palm Trees in the back yard to remind me of Ensenada and Mazatlan. We would vacation annually to Mazatlan when we lived in Ensenada.
We live on a Golf Course and I have my own private entrance. I don't golf but it's something for visiting friends to do. We have only lived here for 18 months. In that time period I have collected about a dozen 36 ounce coffee cans full of Golf Balls. My swimming pool collects golf balls and I use a net to fish them out. One day the pool caught 3 golf balls.
In 18 months, with all of those balls flying by, our home has never sustained a broken window. We don't have any special glass, just luck. We have French doors facing the Golf Course so if a window is broken, it's a small window. The house next door to me has been vacant since we moved here. One day I heard a loud crack, like a gunshot. Later on that day I found out that the sliding glass door in the vacant house had been shattered by a golf ball.
So what does all of this have to do with Mexico or the possibility of drug cartel violence in any community? Only this! You cannot predict when or where violence will occur next. Do you think that the residents of the Lake Chapala area had an inkling of the possibility of violence in their community?
On any given day, violence can erupt just about anywhere in Mexico or for that matter, Tucson, Phoenix or Any City USA. Just because there has been no violence in a certain area does not mean it will not or cannot happen there. Just because I have not sustained a broken window in 18 months does not mean that it can't happen tomorrow.
Problem Two | Violence & The Press
I don't know about the Canadian Press but I do know the American press likes to sensationalize the drug violence or any violence in Mexico. It helps sell newspapers. I think that a number of newspapers are on the brink of closing because of the Internet. Part of the reason for sensationalizing the violence is to help sell more papers. When your country-woman was brutally beaten in Mazatlan I received Google Alerts on newspaper articles with the story. I received dozens of Google Alerts weekly. For several weeks, the alerts were all about the beating. When the story finally died a natural death the authorities caught the guilty party. The stories started all over again.
The news stories also have a negative impact on tourism in Mexico. Before spring break several states were warning their college students not to go to Mexico for spring break. It is interesting to note that the main state in this campaign had a lot to lose or gain based on the choices of their student population. This state has miles and miles of beaches and businesses which depend on tourists going to those beaches. I will not call the name of the state but it’s the one you’re not supposed to “mess with.”
Tourism is one of the four highest sources of income in Mexico. When tourism decreases, businesses fold. When businesses fold, people lose jobs. When people lose jobs….
It should be noted that the Spring Break traffic to Mexico increased rather than decreased this year. If you look at year over year statistics you will find that tourism has increased in most of the popular tourist areas of Mexico. Americans and Canadians are still retiring and moving there.
I cannot speak with any authority on Puerto Vallarta or Bucerias. However, I will put you in touch with several Realtor friends who will be able to more adequately address your concerns on opening a business in that area.
I do not write about the drug cartels or the violence associated with them. I curate articles daily and post them to my boards on Pinterest. I have asked myself on several occasions if I were giving a true picture of Mexico. My conclusion is this,
I am not a reporter for a news organization. Those who are write more than enough negative stories. My goal and the goal of many of my friends writing in their blogs and newsletters is to concentrate on presenting a positive image of Mexico to counterbalance the free press.
Pinterest Mexico & Techno
Your comments are welcomed.