Peace, please.

February 22, 2010

Ever since the panic at the Tuesday Carnaval parade I have been thinking about the illegal drug business and how I feel about my personal security and our home in Mazatlán.

Those of you that keep up on the Mazatlán news will know that there has been a very real change around here recently.  A person was shot at point blank in broad daylight a few weeks ago.  Not way off in a remote colonia, either.  It was on Rafael Buelna just East of Valentino’s.  The Mega supermarket is a block away.  Paul and I were at the intersection and saw the police scream by – and of course the thing that we thought about was “what if our errands had us turning right on Buelna instead of continuing straight?”  This was a targeted hit and no bystanders were injured.  The sicarios responsible were not apprehended.

A couple of weeks ago was the biggie.  Sicarios brought a handcuffed informant to a local nightclub, as he had said he could identify someone they wanted.  They entered, shot the people they’d been looking for, the informant, and a waiter, taxi driver, and a security guard.  All in all, six people were killed.  The sicarios responsible were not apprehended.

march2

Other things happen here and there around town.  Six months or so ago sicarios broke into the Chevy dealership and stole a bunch of new cars.  They brought gasoline and drivers.  The cars have shown up here and there, left behind after criminal activity.  Cars get hijacked on the highways occasionally, especially new model SUV’s.  Of course, the people responsible are not apprehended.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about these crimes, and I didn’t even take the time to look up the actual dates that they occurred.  But there is no way that you can live here in the city and not be aware that there is criminal activity here.

march3

I still believe that if you don’t hang out with people involved in the drug trade, visit night clubs, or walk or drive in unfamiliar places late at night that you are just as safe as you always have been.  The panic at the parade, though, illustrates just how jumpy people are, and how quick they are to assume that the worst might come their way.

Last Friday there was a peace march to unite people after the panic at the parade, and to send a message that Mazatlecos love their city and abhor violence.  I wish I could have marched with them, but the pictures included with this post tell the story.

I love my home here.  I love the city and the people.  I am not afraid.  So now you know.

By the way, the paper said there is a proposal to run the parade again during Semana Santa.  I think that’s a great idea.

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

18 Comments
    1. Nancy,
      Dang, I wish there were an easy answer to this. I think it is all money related. If America doest have the money to spend on the drugs, then Mexico might be better off. But then, it will drive crime in America (now happening) and the price of drugs down, thus creating more crime in Mexico. I read today that illegal immigration is down in Arizona because of our lousy economy. It’s a fact that the problems are many and the solutions are difficult. (ps. sorry for any mispellings)

    1. Oh Nancy, such a terrible story.
      We are wrestling with this here too. I don’t feel as safe as I used to. My friend Linda was carjacked at 5:30 in the evening, hiking with her dogs, broad daylight, not in a remote area at all, bystanders in the area, she has no ties to criminal activity, and it has really changed our little village.
      There is no easy answer, it’s so complicated and multi-national. Reminds me of Columbia in the 80s.
      I’ll admit, I’m a lot more careful now.
      Stay safe, you and Paul.

    1. Sadly the world is changing, and we must stay extra vigilant and not assume or not get too comfortable. Our only salvation is the awareness and education of others to these situations.
      As you know Michoacan has been extra popular for such activities, and life must go on, but now with a tad more caution.

      1. Crissy, You’re right, there are no easy answers. And money is power, it seems. (is the misspelling comment about my rant the other day where people didn’t know how to spell place names in their community??)

        Mexican Trailrunner, I read your post about the carjacking and was totally horrified. I know these things happen all around the world but we all have felt like we were living in small towns, safe from “all that out there.” Really shakes your world.

        Ken, I wonder where are all the tough Mexican mothers to all these thugs? Maybe we need the power of the parents to make itself felt? Or are they being paid off, too? You stay safe, too, amigo.

    1. Good thought, Nancy, regarding the mothers of these guys. I can only imagine that the ‘quality’ of their life has improved with their son’s new-found wealth. They can’t ALL approve of their kids lifestyles, can they?

    1. Thanks for these photos, Nancy. We marched in the peace parade last year and it was an AWESOME and very EMPOWERING experience. Sooooo good to join neighbors and march for peace and tranquility and respect! This year Danny had a futbol tournament which trumped our march participation 🙁

    1. That parade makes my heart sing; the average guy/gal on the street wants the same thing as most people around the world; enough food, a home, education for their kids and a safe environment. I’ll still take this place over most anywhere else I have lived but might just look over my shoulder a bit more frequently. All lthe NOB’s blithering about it here, need to merely follow the money…. a mostly direct path to THEIR NOB.

    1. Sounds like there is lots of “not apprehended” going on in your area. This sends up a red flag to me. I do hope things will change for the better. It is great when the locals unite for or against a cause. This sends a big message to those in charge.

      Keep safe. Common sense is the best preventative measure you can take.

    1. I just arrived Wednesday evening and was advised not to walk the Malecon alone at night because people have recently been gunned down there. Then later I was told by various people that it was safe, and wasn’t safe to walk in the old town at night. Frankly, I can’t live in fear, so I went out and had a perfectly good time. There are risks everywhere, but it is do sad that the drug trade is causing this situation for the good people of Mazatlan.

    1. I hear you. Unfortunatley this is not just a Mazatlan problem. Would more “marchs” would help? Maybe we all need to speak a little louder in our home town. That can’t hurt.

      1. Zoe – I agree, follow the money – but I also think we need to remember that the US is laughable in managing sales of guns. Why AK-47’s are legal for private citizens to buy and resell is beyond me. And if these thugs had a harder time getting the guns it would certainly help.

        Merida Mikey – Yes, there are a lot of “not aprehended” here. And the paper said today that Sinaloa has 1,000 vacancies in the police force, as no one wants the job.

        Barbara – I’m with you – take normal precautions and don’t live in fear.

        Larry – This really is everyone’s problem. And everyone needs to take responsibility. Shutting down the trade in guns would be a start but it is a very complex problem and the more power the cartels get the more difficult it will be to make any inroads against them

        Cynthia, I think it’s less Sad and more Mad for me. But the march expressed a beautiful, peaceful sentiment that made me feel uplifted.

    1. Thanks for updating us on the facts. Fortunately, our area around Melaque has not been hit with the increase in violence; I fear it may be just a matter of time. But, you are correct in saying that all the reasons we chose to live in Mexico still exist. We just need to be a bit more careful about our day-to-day activities — just as we were in The States.

    1. Hi Nancy, so very sorry to report, our daughter in law lives in Cuernavaca in an upscale neighborhood. Two weeks ago she was robbed at gun point and then carjacked upon leaving a 7-Eleven type store. She is the manager of a coffee shop and had all the business stuff including laptops in her car. They took her purse and wrecked her car escaping out of the parking lot. The police have not caught the guys or found her car. About 2 months ago she told us there was a shootout at a small restaurant near her home and she could hear all the gunshots at her home. She was born and raised in Cuernavaca and lived most of her life there and it was NEVER like this. This has had a very bad affect on her mentally, she lives in constant fear. She has a 3 yr. old daughter and is so thankful she was not with her at the time. She is seriously thinking about moving back to the states. I don’t know what to tell her as these things happen here too.
      Some info. on Cuernavaca…it is a place where many men work in Mexico City and have their homes and families living in Cuernavaca. They stay in Mexico during the week and come home (about an hour+ south) for the weekends. We love Mexico and can’t stand what is happening there. We were going to go visit her this month, but she said, NO! She is in fear for us too. So, so sad, be careful Nancy!

      1. Steve, That’s right, you need to be careful anywhere. I can’t let what they do reduce the pleasure I have in my life here.

        Lynda, I’m sorry your daughter has been affected by the violence. I would say that the thugs are winning if their actions make her enjoy life less and live in fear. I hope she gets some counseling. My son lives in Mexico City and his attitude is to live as safely as possible – not too showy cars, watches, etc. But you can’t protect against everything. As soon as you move to the “perfect” place, something might happen there. I hope she works out a way to be happy where she is or that she moves somewhere she can be happy.

    1. Hi Nancy, just heard about another shooting in your area, a Canadian couple (husband) got shot in an RV park in the middle of the night. I actually know the couple they use to live down the street from us and were definitely not involved in the drug trade. Just a couple of retrees like yourselves. Could this be related to the poor US economy – reduced jobs in Mexico? Locals getting desperate for money?

      Thoughts

    1. Hi Nancy.

      I am so happy that I came across your blog. My husband and I just planned a trip to Mazatlan (5/1/10 through 5/8/10) and now I am worried that it was a bad decision. Reading about the increase in crime really frightens me. We have three little girls that we are leaving at home. I am now concerned, that we planned a vacation in a place that is dangerous for Americans (and others). We were planning to stay at the RIU resort. Any thoughts as to whether or not we should continue our trip as planned…or cancel due to the increase in crime? I have to admit, I am a lot more reluctant to travel to Mexico now…than before I began reading all of these “warnings”. Thank you, in advance, for any advice that you can give.
      Take care and stay safe.

      1. Bryn,

        I get comments like yours every once in a while, and I can’t give you any advice that would mean anything… you and your family are the only ones who can decide what is right for you. But if you read my post you know I am not afraid here. It is my home, and I love it. And your trip to Mazatlan? Well, the Riu is an all-inclusive resort built about as far from Mazatlan as is possible and still be considered Mazatlan. I suspect you will be picked up by a hotel van at the airport and never leave the Riu until you head home. If you decide to come on your vacation I hope that you’ll venture out and take a tour of Centro Historico. There is a lot to see and do here that you won’t experience at the Riu. Check out my photos pages for pictures I’ve taken over the years! Take care! Nancy

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