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trouble south of the border: don't give in to fear
An American riding on a jet ski in a lake that straddles the Mexican border is kidnapped and feared murdered. Another man from the US, on a fishing vacation in Cabo San Lucas, is robbed and shot in the neck. Gang and drug cartell violence seems to be on the upswing in Mexico, and American tourists are becoming quite fearful about traveling down there.
The stories are alarming as the violence in Mexico continues to worsen, and if the cartels ever decide that slaughtering tourists wholesale would help them gain leverage in their war on the government, it just may happen.
But millions of Americans have second houses, commercial interest or otherwise travel to Mexico regurlarly and have done so for years. Plus, Mexico is home to all kinds of tournaments, races and rallies in which tons of US citizens love to participate, like the Los Cabos Jackpot. So its impossible to tell people to not go.
Just like any issue, there are two sides to this coin. Some say that the violence is just too pervasive, and that the local authorities (police, etc.) are too rife with corruption to be able to stop it. They say its time to close to border permanently and throw away the key. Others say that there is violence all over the world, even here in our own cities, and that every country has its bad guys. These people argue that any tourist destination can have its troubles with crime and that these scare tactics are all overblown.
And whenever there are two sides to an issue, often the truth lies somewhere in between. True, the stories of violence might be a little over reported and exaggerated, but that does not mean there is nothing to be concerned about. Total avoidance of the whole country, though, is not the answer.
The key is being cautious. When traveling to any tourist location, try not to act or look like a tourist, don't go out late at night alone, leave the expensive jewelry (the bling) at home and stay away from the wrong locations and situations (you know what and where they are). Doing those simple things can go a long way to keeping you safe, but those words of advice really should be followed even here in this country.
Mike Meredith, the American fisherman who was shot in the neck in Cabo, said he would go back in the future because the people of Mexico are nice and it is a beautiful place.
That says volumes. If he refuses to give in to the fear, then so can we all. And he's right. Mexico is a beautiful place, and the people are wonderfully kind and generous.
2010 Captain Kujo All rights reserved.