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Violence/Drug Wars/Safety(Includes Guadalajara-U.S. Warning)
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Dragonlady



Joined: 10 May 2004
Posts: 719
Location: Chillinfernow, Canada

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arrow

Last edited by Dragonlady on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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the peanut gallery



Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 264

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear lord, what has happened to Mexico?

Things have been quite recently where i live so i will just turn a blind eye to the suffering and insecurity that others have to live with.
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dragonlady wrote:
AGoodStory wrote:
Really--an F? Ouch! I'm not sure I would assign an F to a well-written and cogently argued essay because I disagreed with it. Perhaps just a bit of an overreaction? It seems to me that a thoughtful, unemotional reading of that final sentence might suggest a less offensive meaning to you. Wink

You're absolutely right.
I'd never give a failing grade to anything expressing an opinion I didn't agree with, if well written. It was indeed a knee-jerk reaction to an unusually long day most of which was spent sitting in the waiting room of INM, passing the time grading papers.

Now (many hours and several 'refreshing' beverages later) I concede to having over reacted.
As well our annual Salsa Festival has begun - the streets are filled with music.... everyone's dancing... smiling faces...

However, as far as finding the last sentence less offensive?
Nah. Wink

Regards,
DL




Ah, DL, you've won this year's award for gracious behavior. The ability to reconsider an opinion (in the face of disagreement) seems to be something of a lost art. "I'm entitled to MY opinion, but only an idiot would hold YOURS," is so much more common. And the fewer the facts, the firmer the opinion, and the greater the reluctance to examine it! (I'm a bit jaded from browsing a current events forum, where hysteria sometimes runs rampant.) Wink

Admiringly,
AGS
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the peanut gallery



Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 264

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DL is a credit to this forum for sure. Very Happy So many people try to justify the ridiculous rather than risk their pride taking a knock.
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btsmrtfan



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 74
Location: GPS Not Working

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sobering article:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/23/bloody-mexican-gangs-make-official-uniforms-insignia/?test=latestnews
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:54 am    Post subject: Recent trip Reply with quote

I'm back to visit friends after a year and a half break of teaching outside of Mexico. I had the pleasure of seeing Guadalajara as well as some other places that were new to me. Like most or all of you here, I really love Mexico as well as Central America where I lived before.

RE: Security

The Mexico I saw and heard about seems to have changed and it is very concerning. I agree wholeheartedly with those who are seeing the security issues here in a new fashion. It really seems to be more of a checkerboard of security/insecurity rather than a distinct zone or region we are used to seeing. During my visit I talked with folks from Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero as well as other places.. They were all avoiding travel at night and even in the day some are "triangulating" way around troublespots - certain highways, towns or cities etc.. The new norm I'm afraid.

As of today the Mexican government seems to be balking at the release of new death stats though most newpapers are putting this as probably over 40K deaths. To put that into perpective, more have died in this period in Mexico than US Army personnel died in Vietnam (38,200).


I do hope that we are leaving the very incomplete (cough!) conversations about how Mexican violence should or could be compared to your experience in (insert favorite US city). I suspect a lot of arguments made in this vein are made to avoid devaluing the Mexico they have feelings for or to somehow balance the unfairness or inequity we see people living with in Mexico. I'm sympathetic to that and often felt safer in Mexican cities than in US cities. At the same time I'm not sure our feelings are always make for good risk analysis.

While I don't want to ignore or underestimate the issues of violence in inner city USA, the people who are gang banging in Newark are not shutting down I-95 or the road to Newark International. The guys who are running the crack corners in Baltimore are not getting calls from the Baltimore Sun on what's ok to publish so as not offend them. The drug gangs in LA are not hanging the corpses of rivals under the overpasses so morning commuters get their "message". Really these sound
more like the violence in the Mid-east and I have to agree with a recent poster here who said this might be better equated with terrorism than crime per se.

I corresponded not long ago with a friend of friend who had taught for a week or two in Michoacan at a program there. She wanted my opinion on it as a place to teach. I told her there has been a lot of problems there and she should really be informed about things before making a longer commitment. She speaks no Spanish and has had almost no experience in Mexico.

She emailed back a month later to dismiss any reservations as she had "felt" perfectly safe.

Michoacan. No problems during your two week? Really? Vaya con Dios.

RE: Oaxaca

Problems in the state of Oaxaca are usually political or personal and I agree with the generalization that it is usually safe. Still there are some areas to know about and I wouldn't be careless here. In addition to what's below, almost everyone here says common crime and robbery is up in Oaxaca.

Sierra del Sur is different than Sierra del Norte which is safe and a nice place to go to a forested area. The road south out of Oaxaca into sierra del sur is considered by many to be dangerous and a no-go at night. It is a very isolated and long stretch of highway with limited towns and cell service is non-existant in many places. Friends of mine told me about what amounts to a county road south of Oaxaca where,periodically, a white pickup truck is pulled across the road. A couple of guys are there with smiles informing area residents that today would be a bad day to be driving on that road. Nobody asks any questions as no one needs to.

Mex Route 185 running from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico in Oaxaca state was featured in a documentary out of Europe about illegal Guatemalan immigrants and is apparently referred to as Kidnap Highway by many. Your mileage may vary but I'd certainly avoid that road for a family outing.

It's just my personal feeling and this may change with a new governor but I'd be careful and not underestimate the potential violence around politics in Oaxaca. Brad Will, a US videographer, was killed in Oaxaca during the conflict in 2006 as was an American woman who was killed in the Sierra when she was staying with a family who were witnesses to Will's
shooting. She was apparently raped also. Two other women (one N. European, one US womaen) who were with a group of activists who were supporting a town that was blockaded during a union conflict were also shot to death this last year.

Not to overstate this, but if you get involved in Oaxacan politics it is serious business and you are putting yourself at some risk and are not likely to understand all of the nuances involved in it.

As I've posted before, find out what's going on locally and take the advice seriously. If your cousin got successfully drunk in Mexico city a few years ago and made it back to the hostal ok doesn't mean it's the same deal today in Veracruz etc.. Being politically active in Seattle doesn't mean the same as going to a union standoff at a blocked road in Oaxaca and so on..........
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Two other women (one N. European, one US womaen) who were with a group of activists who were supporting a town that was blockaded during a union conflict were also shot to death this last year.


Im sorry those women were killed, but I have to ask, Whatever were they thinking? What naivete! Apart from the violence that can break out during blockades and similar situations, surely they knew that it's against the law in Mexico (and anywhere else for that matter) to get involved in political activities. In the US you can be deported for such activities, and here it is likely the same.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
Quote:
Two other women (one N. European, one US womaen) who were with a group of activists who were supporting a town that was blockaded during a union conflict were also shot to death this last year.


Im sorry those women were killed, but I have to ask, Whatever were they thinking? What naivete! Apart from the violence that can break out during blockades and similar situations, surely they knew that it's against the law in Mexico (and anywhere else for that matter) to get involved in political activities. In the US you can be deported for such activities, and here it is likely the same.


I couldn't agree more. It's why I post and participate in this forum even though I'm not a long time resident here. I hear a lot of rather naive statements, false equivalents etc. (on and off the board). You don't want to be alarmist, but these situations can be quite serious and irreversible once you're in them.

It's like when you're riding on one of those city buses (here in mex) that's being driven at a crazy pace and manner and you notice all of the Mexicans getting off the bus. It's not a fun photo opportunity, it's your stop whether you realize it or not. I'm afraid sometimes people aren't seeing the signals for some reason.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was much younger, I had a friend with very left-wing politics who felt it was her duty to go off to places like Nicaragua and participate in whatever revolution was taking shape at the moment. She did get deeply involved with the Sandinistas and was welcomed by them, but even she would not have gone to Oaxaca and gotten mixed up with local political problems there, especially not out in the countryside, where you often can't tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys".
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
When I was much younger, I had a friend with very left-wing politics who felt it was her duty to go off to places like Nicaragua and participate in whatever revolution was taking shape at the moment. She did get deeply involved with the Sandinistas and was welcomed by them, but even she would not have gone to Oaxaca and gotten mixed up with local political problems there, especially not out in the countryside, where you often can't tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys".


Yeah, there was a time in the early 80's when tons of progressive people went to Nicaragua from Europe, the US, Canada etc.. to help with all kinds of projects.

I lived in Nicaragua a bit and saw some violence around the last election. In a way, even though it's poorer than Mexico, it's easier to discern who's who with a Sandinista rally as in a way it's all about showing who they are. Even the major cities/towns are pretty well known by their political leanings there. The cops there are less corrupt than here and they've shown themselves (at times) to be remarkably neutral. The head of the National police (a woman) during the last elections was something of a hero for standing up to either side when they did something wrong. I doubt she would have lasted a week in Mexico.

Too bad that people can't be involved in helping out people in Mexico politically but given the murkiness of it you might be setting yourself up for bullet.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tideout wrote:




Too bad that people can't be involved in helping out people in Mexico politically but given the murkiness of it you might be setting yourself up for bullet.


Besides being against the law, I don't think it's our place to be involved with politically-charged activities in Mexico. It's another version of the "white man's burden" that the Brits took on when they still had their Empire, and I don't think that Mexicans who are trying to improve things in their country want "help" from well-meaning gringos and others. Something that would help this country is better-balanced media coverage in the US and elsewhere, don't you think?
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
tideout wrote:




Too bad that people can't be involved in helping out people in Mexico politically but given the murkiness of it you might be setting yourself up for bullet.


Besides being against the law, I don't think it's our place to be involved with politically-charged activities in Mexico. It's another version of the "white man's burden" that the Brits took on when they still had their Empire, and I don't think that Mexicans who are trying to improve things in their country want "help" from well-meaning gringos and others. Something that would help this country is better-balanced media coverage in the US and elsewhere, don't you think?


Yeah, I agree. Your use of quotation marks around help is certainly on target! Shocked

Your point really goes across issues as well.

What could someone's position be between the two competing unions for los maestros for example? I find it hard to believe a gringo/a could have very strong feelings for either PRI or PAN let alone Union 22 vs. 59 (sorry I can't recall the union numbers!!). Maybe their friends or family have had an experience with one or the other but what positive role could someone play?

It would be an interesting scene to say the least. The norte americano stepping in between a group of Zetas and a group of La Familia Michoacana to stop a shootout.

"Companeros, I'm an esl teacher here and I really think there's been enough violence already. Maybe we could try introducing ourselves in English? The level may be a little advanced but I also have a great values clarification exercise. Also, I know some of you guys aren't shy about falsifying documents but my TESOL certification is from a legitimate TESOL training program!"

You're a 100% right about the media coverage. It's really nothing more than a cartoon version of the news.
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Ajarn Miguk



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 227
Location: TDY As Assigned

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More bad news from Monterrey:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13801617
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:57 pm    Post subject: article Reply with quote

Ajarn Miguk wrote:
More bad news from Monterrey:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13801617


A rough day to put it mildly. Another site has the count at 39 for the day.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2112
Location: Dang Cong San Viet Nam Quang Vinh Muon Nam!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Shortly after midnight on May 11 in central Mexico City, Isaac Chinedu, an immigrant from Nigeria, became involved in some kind of confrontation with a group of police officers on a dark side street. The encounter escalated, and Chinedu was severely beaten. Some minutes later, he was dead, the victim of a hit-and-run driver, authorities say."


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2011/06/nigerian-mexico-police-beating-racism-investigation-isaac-chinedu.html
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