Another Perspective of Safety in Mexico
Understanding The Media Assault on Mexico
As published in Cabo Social Magazine Issue #16 (September - December, 2010)
Before jumping in with how ridiculous the safety in Mexico topic is, lets first discuss “Mexico.” It is the misuse of the word Mexico that has blown this subject way out of proportion. Mexico is a country, and a very large nation at that, spanning nearly 500 million acres. Within Mexico, there are 31 states and within those states are scores of cities and towns. The majority of the world’s mainstream media however, seems to be either insensitive or oblivious to this fact. It is constant and unrelenting, as if every square mile of Mexico is unsafe. If an incident occurs in Mexico, most media outlets do not emphasize the city and state of the episode. Instead, the fear mongers keep it simple, generalizing and typecasting the incidents into one simple word, “Mexico.”
It is not odd for people living in a media-driven society, such as the US, to be concerned about traveling to Mexico, not while in an earshot of mainstream media’s relentless assault on Mexico. If I were still living in the US today, I would probably feel the same anxiety about traveling south of the border. The US media really is that good –its power and money are massive and its influence can move vast majorities of the entire world.
Cabo in relation to real danger
To understand safety in Cabo, one must first posses geographical knowledge of Mexico. The majority of Mexico’s physical area is actually safe. There are only areas, epicenters if you will, which should be respected as potentially dangerous regions. Knowing where Mexico’s danger zones are, in comparison to Los Cabos is key to understanding how safe Cabo actually is.
The core of Mexico’s violence is drug related and takes place in the city of Juarez (pronounced hWA-rez) in the northern state of Chihuahua. Juarez is actually only two miles from El Paso, Texas –yes in the US, and some 1,800+ miles (by car) away from sunny Los Cabos, at the southernmost tip of Baja. In fact, the US cities of Tucsan, Phoenix and Palm Springs are all far closer to Juarez than Los Cabos is.
Not only is Los Cabos many miles from the core of Mexico’s drug violence, but Los Cabos is, historically-speaking, a very safe group of cities in the equally safe state of Baja California Sur.
Beyond the substantial physical separations between Los Cabos and violent hot spots like Juarez, lies a significant social divide too. The majority of the violence in Juarez and other danger zones near the Mexico-US border are associated with the trafficking of narcotics into the US. Unless you are planning to infiltrate Mexico and take a crack at the drug trade, then it is even more unlikely that you will find yourself in a violent drug related clash.
Should you visit Cabo?
If you are reading this article here in Cabo, congratulations, you are in paradise. You are probably nodding your head in agreement while sipping a margarita, and looking forward to sharing this article with your skeptical peers that warned you of dangerous Mexico before you came.
If you are not here, then you will have to decide that for yourself. As for me, I have lived here for nearly six years now and have absolutely no plans to leave any time soon. Before Cabo, I enjoyed life in Boca Raton, Chicago, Del Mar, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Oshkosh and beyond, and I can honestly say that I feel just as safe or even more so here in Los Cabos, Mexico –home sweet home.
authored by: Derrick Grahn