Sunday, January 1, 2023

Contrary to the Myths: Mexico is a Safe Place


Mexico continues to attract a record number of international visitors: In 2019, Mexico attracted over 45 million foreign visitors, making it one of the world’s top-ten most visited countries.  Despite negative media news flow -  especially about drug-related violence - people keep coming to Mexico. Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.  The country is seeing consistent demand from foreigners who are interested in relocating to Mexico.  

Last winter I drove from Laredo in Texas through the  Mexican mainland and further to the west coast of the sunshine country.  In Mazatlán, I boarded a ferry to La Paz in Baja California Sur.  Several months later I drove from this pacific-bordering peninsula 2,500 kilometers north to the U.S. border and San Diego.  During this extended road trip through large parts of Mexico I discovered the natural beauty of this country, its delicious food, and its friendly, helpful people,

Even though I didn't speak Spanish at this point, I single-drove thousands of kilometers in Mexico, being female and over seventy years old.  Despite all this, I always felt totally safe.  However, lots of friends and strangers from North America and Europe asked me if I am not afraid to travel to Mexico. 


No one ever asked me if I feel safe when I head to the U.S. - despite more than 600 mass shootings in the first 10 months of 2022.  Visitors to the U.S. can be shot in any Walmart, on a bus, in a popular restaurant, or in a school...

However, the U.S. media is eager to point out every fight among the drug cartels - which barely ever bothers tourists or foreign business people in Mexico.  If they don't hang out in obscure bars at night, try to get into the drug trade, or buy drugs - then there is barely a chance to be involved in gang fights.  American media outlets should rather point to their home-grown crooks and mass murders.

The violence is mostly confined to drug gangs.  When you drill down into the detail of the data, figures show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last decade has come about through criminal gang members fighting each other.  Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by drug gangs.

Just look at the tiny country of the Netherlands in Europe: Gang wars and contract killings, a crown princess who cannot study carefree, and threats against the head of government: what sounds like a fictional thriller about the power of drug cartels is a reality for the Dutch.  The trial of suspected drug lord Ridouan Taghi has shone a spotlight on brutal methods used by his "Mocro Maffia" in the country.  And the recent dismantling of a "super cartel" in Dubai with links to Taghi has heightened fears that the liberal country of the Netherlands could be on its way to becoming a drug state... wrote recently: "Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to vacation and enjoy its rich culture and heritage.  Business visitors arrive to trade, cultivate friendships, and agree on deals that create new wealth.  Foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally and contributing positively in the Mexican communities they love calling home."  

My advice is:  Never buy drugs, don't hang out in bars until the wee hours, and don't drive at night in unknown areas.  It will keep you out of trouble.



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