México has been taking some hits in the international news lately.
First: It was labeled a “failed state.” Breast-beating ensued on both sides of the border as México attempted to defend herself while others backpedaled and tried not to sound racist. The drug violence was front page news in most newspapers. México expat bloggers tried to get the truth out by publishing The Truth About México.
Next: Mexico City seems to be ground zero for a possible swine flu epidemic. I say possible, because no one knows how quickly it will (or will not) spread, but it is clearly NOT business as usual here. Travel is not advised, schools nationwide are closed until May 6, and no normal civic or cultural gatherings are taking place. We are even seeing people with masks here in Mazatlán, and the paper reports that there have been no cases of swine flu here.
Then: This morning a strong earthquake hit México City, and was felt as far away as Acapulco. The quake measured 5.6 and I am sure ratcheted up anxiety level for the city that is already dealing with a potential epidemic.
This situation is hard on everyone. From the Seattle Times writer vacationing in Mexico City to parents trying to figure out child care with schools and day care centers closed. And since most cities in México are tourist destinations (some more than others), the hit from reduced tourism will be severely felt. And the trickle-down effect will hurt many more.
Mexicans are used to dealing with adversity, and I don’t doubt that the current situation will turn out fine, but at this very moment, it seems like tough times here.