By: Lisa Coleman
I know this is an ongoing topic on our blog and many others, but since I just returned from Mexico, it seems completely relevant to me. I had lunch with friends today and was talking all about my trip, and, of course, the topic quickly jumped to the violence in Mexico. This subject always puts me on the nearest soapbox. So make room… I’m coming up!
So this is how it went… Someone had read on Facebook that someone had canceled a trip to Puerto Vallarta because of all the “murders” in Mexico. Let’s be real for a moment, and let’s take the time to read our news, understand some geography and put things in perspective. Are you going to skip that trip to L.A. at Christmas because you heard some gangs are killing each other in Oakland? It’s really the same thing, but since most people are geographically challenged when it comes to Mexico, things always have a negative spin. Mexico gets singled out over and over again by press who are determined to make sure you hear every detail so readers can perpetuate the “bad” while the country is fighting so hard to do some good. Okay, I understand the topic of danger in Mexico is once again front page news after the sad news out of Guadalajara last week. I get it. People are getting killed… and we all know how the American public has a morbid obsession with anything having to do with murder.
Guess what? It happens. It happens in Mexico… it happens all over the world. Chances are pretty good it happens in your own hometown. The news here in Phoenix isn’t much brighter most of the time, but it sure won’t keep the golfers away. Should we stop promoting our tourism because gang violence in town is at a 20 year high? I doubt it. The deal is simple… the drug cartels have kicked into gear against Calderon’s efforts and the gangland style murders have soared and jumped into the headlines on an almost daily basis. I know I sound like a broken record, but people, really, let’s be honest about how directly, or indirectly, this will affect your Christmas vacation in Cancun. My personal guess is… not at all.
Unless of course you are an active member of a foreign drug cartel, or you go snooping around in search of large quantities of drugs or weapons, I seriously doubt your vacation, or any tourists in general, will ever be touched by the problem. And I do acknowledge it is a problem, a monumental problem. However, Mexico is in transition in terms of government, democracy and development into a modern nation. Unfortunately, it’s simple economics… supply and demand…. and as long as the Americans are buying, the Mexicans are going to be selling. Throw in a President determined to clean it up, and there is inevitably going to be a clash.
I respect and understand the concern for safety, but let’s not read a story and make a blanket assumption that an entire country is upside down. It simply isn’t fair. If you know Mexico at all, you know that it’s pretty damn safe to travel around to see the sites. The tour operators, hoteliers and tourism boards from city to city fight against the press every day to keep their guests coming and to survive this crisis. And you should go to Mexico. In fact, you should go more often. You should learn about its history and culture, and you should not be deterred by things that won’t touch you. Enjoy, explore and let the Mexican people embrace you with their warm smiles. That’s what it’s really all about anyway.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own. Mexico Today is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination