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Is the Violence in Mexico Reaching Cabo?

The answer to this question is a resounding "NO".  Cabo is safer than most places in Canada and the United States and a great place to visit not only for its natural beauty but also for the safety throughout.  I am sharing an article written by Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald below.  Please note that the reference to Baja California is referring to the Northern part of the peninsula which is a separate state than the Baja California Sur and 1,000 miles north.  The main city drawing the violence in Baja California is Tijuana which is next to San Diego.  Cabo is far from there and its violence. 

After the murder of two U.S. consulate workers in Mexico's border city of Ciudad Juárez, many of you have written to me wondering whether it is safe to travel to Mexico. The answer is: If you are courageous enough to travel to Washington, D.C., you can safely visit most parts of Mexico.

Despite the escalation of drug-related violence in several Mexican cities, and the pictures of mutilated bodies dumped on the streets of Ciudad Juárez and other cities along the U.S. border, a dispassionate look at Mexico's murder rates shows that some parts of the country are indeed dangerous, but the country as a whole is safer than what the latest headlines suggest.

NEW STUDY

A new study by Brookings Institute Latin American expert Kevin Casas-Zamora, a former vice president of Costa Rica, helps put Mexico's violence in perspective.

According to Casas-Zamora's figures, based on United Nations 2008 data, Mexico's murder rate is nearly five times less than that of sunny Jamaica and about half that of Brazil, a country that was recently awarded the much-coveted 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Consider his data of Latin America's most violent countries: Honduras has a murder rate of 61 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Jamaica with 60, Venezuela and El Salvador with 52 each, Guatemala with 47, Trinidad and Tobago with 40, Colombia with 39, Brazil with 22, Dominican Republic with 21, Panama with 19, Ecuador with 18, Nicaragua with 13, Paraguay with 12, Mexico and Costa Rica with about 11.5 each, Bolivia with 10.5 and Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, and Chile with less than 10.

Comparatively, while the United States homicide rate is lower than Mexico's, Washington, D.C., has a murder rate of 31 people per 100,000 inhabitants and New Orleans has 74.

``Violence in Mexico is concentrated in a few cities, mainly in Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Baja California,'' Casas Zamora told me in an interview. ``In Ciudad Juárez, it's out of control. But in the country as a whole, it doesn't come even close to Washington, D.C.'s.''

He conceded that Mexico's murder rates may have risen in recent months as a result of the cross fire between Mexican security forces and the drug cartels, and between the drug cartels themselves. But he added that they are still significantly below what they were 10 years ago.

Largely for demographic reasons -- Mexico's birth rates are dropping and large numbers of Mexicans have been migrating to the United States in recent decades -- murder rates in Mexico have been falling steadily for decades. They may have picked up only marginally over the past year, he said.

The U.S. State Department's latest travel alert to Mexico, issued following the killings of the two U.S. consular workers in Ciudad Juárez, says it has temporarily authorized the departure of relatives of U.S. consular workers in the Northern Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros, and advises U.S. citizens ``to delay unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states.''

As for Mexico as a whole, it says that ``U.S. citizen visitors are encouraged to stay in the well-known tourist areas.''

USE CAUTION

My opinion: Mexico is facing a dangerous rise in violence, and I would not advise you to spend your next vacation in Ciudad Juárez or any other place where the drug-related killings are taking place.

But Mexico is a huge country. To say that it's unsafe to travel to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta or Cancún -- or that you wouldn't allow your children to spend spring break in that country, as Fox News' right-wing airhead Bill O'Reilly said last year -- is as irresponsible as saying that it's unsafe to travel to some of the biggest U.S. cities.

The State Department's travel alert, while correctly pointing out that the violence is concentrated in some Mexican states, should have put Mexico's national figures in perspective. It wouldn't be a bad idea if, from now on, it compared them with other countries' murder rates, and with that of its own home city -- Washington, D.C.

 

Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2010 10:20 AM by Nick Fong

Comments

JESSE said:

I HAVE BEEN DOING MY OWN RESERCH RECENTLY CAUSE I TRAVEL TO MEXICO ALOT TRUOUT THE YEAR AND HAVE FOUND ALOT OF FIGURES THAT TOTALLY BLEW ME AWAY.I FOUND ALOT OF WHAT YOUR ARTICLE WAS SAYING,ALSO ONE FROM A ORGANIZATION CALLED WHO, WORLD HEALTH  ORGANIZATION WHERE THEY WERE COMMENTING ON THE SIZE OF MEXICO SAYING IS WAS THE SIZE OF SPAIN, FRANCE ,ITALY AND GERMANY PUT TOGETHER AND HOW THERE HAS BEEN ALOT OF IRRESPONSIBLE MEDIA REPORTING AND UNESSESARY WORRIES PUT ON TOURIST.THEY HAD FIGURES ON EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF ON 65 COUNTRIES AND THE ON THAT REALLY SUPRISED ME WAS THE ONE THAT HAD THE U.S. AS #12 IN CORRUPTION AND MEXICO AS #65, FINLAND AND DENMARK WERE UP ON TOP. BOTTOM LINE IS YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHERE YOUR HANGING OUT AND WITH WHO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD IS WHAT THEY WERE SAYING,

# April 6, 2010 9:42 PM

Jack said:

I totally agree with you.  And yes the media has been bias and unfair by slanting their reporting by not explaining the murder rates in relation to the rest of Mexico.  Many folks have know idea how large Mexico is, how many states, the population, etc.  We in the USA, do not use Washington DC as the gauge for the whole United States, so why does the Media want us to believe Juarez represents all of Mexico.  Because the can...and many of us don't know any better.  However, I do not want to discount that there are some very monsterous murders being committed. I say, stay away from the bad areas as I would tell you to stay way from the bad areas in USA or any other known troubled area.  Always know your surroundings where ever you regardless !

# April 6, 2010 10:06 PM

Terry said:

One shouldnt compare the violence in USA to that of Canada. The USA has a much higer per capita murder rate than that of any city in Canada. I cant think of one city in Canada that isnt safe on the flip side I have travelled to places like Compton in L.A., Chicago, New York and New Orleans...and belive me they are pretty scary places.

# April 7, 2010 9:39 AM

Darren said:

I have travelled to Cabo many times and not once have I felt unsafe or threatened in any way.  I have walked around downtown well after midnight alone and never had any problems whatsoever and everyone I have met has been friendly and very helpful.  If you want to find trouble, I'm sure you can whether you are in Cabo, Washington DC, or Bel Air, California.  As Jack said, if you stay away from certain situations, you won't have any problems at all.  I live in a city of 1 million (Edmonton, Canada) and I feel safer in Cabo than certain areas of my own city.  If you don't go to the area because of these ridiculous media claims, you are the one who is losing from never getting to experience one of the truly beautiful areas in the world.

# April 7, 2010 9:41 AM

Mari said:

We have a time share and have been going to Cabo for several years and everyone at home thinks we are crazy. Athough I must admit that after listening to all the media stuff I was a little nervous to go not knowing what we would find when we got down there and have often wondered if we made a mistake buying a time share there.  But it's always business as usual. I have never felt unsafe while there.  

I think it ia very sad that Mexico is getting such bad press. What you hear in the media about Mexico  sounds horrific.  I was listening to a radio station just the other day and there was a broadcast that said "Don't travel to Mexico" and went on to explain how horrible it was. I also just read something that said in ten years the drug cartel will be running the whole country. Their police force is stronger than the Mexican police force.  Why would we in the US being doing this to one of our neighbors? Mexico needs tourists to continue going there.

# April 7, 2010 10:46 AM

Mari said:

We have a time share and have been going to Cabo for several years and everyone at home thinks we are crazy. Athough I must admit that after listening to all the media stuff I was a little nervous to go not knowing what we would find when we got down there and have often wondered if we made a mistake buying a time share there.  But it's always business as usual. I have never felt unsafe while there.  

I think it ia very sad that Mexico is getting such bad press. What you hear in the media about Mexico  sounds horrific.  I was listening to a radio station just the other day and there was a broadcast that said "Don't travel to Mexico" and went on to explain how horrible it was. I also just read something that said in ten years the drug cartel will be running the whole country. Their police force is stronger than the Mexican police force.  Why would we in the US being doing this to one of our neighbors? Mexico needs tourists to continue going there.

# April 7, 2010 10:46 AM

DeeAnn said:

I too have had more than a few people look at me as if I've taken leave of my senses when they hear I'm going to Cabo.  "MEXICO?!... aren't you scared...".

I patiently remind them that I have seen MANY changes over the past 14 years, but violence has not one of them.  If anything, it's the AMERICAN spring breakers that have had the most negative impact on my travels.  I remind the fretters that regardless of location; domestic or international, we have to be smart and use common sense.  

Tragically, random acts of violence do occur.  But   historically, "bad guys" choose their targets based on the intended victims' lack of situational awareness, which lends itself to asuccessful attack.

Keep your eyes and ears open, leave the "bling" at home, and don't put yourself in a position of vulnerability.    

Go to Mexico, Enjoy your vacation, be smart, be respectful, and use due regard in enjoying everything this beautiful country has to offer.  I did, I will continue to doso, and I can't wait to go back  :0)

# April 7, 2010 11:48 PM

john said:

I have been traveling to cabo since 1991 and Acapulco since 1984. Every year i spend at least three weeks in cabo thru out the year and have had not one bit of trouble. Cabo is a great place and love it. On the other hand i spend the whole month of feb. in acapulco every year since 1984. On my 25th anniversary of going down to Acapulco, I was robbed in the tourist area walking down the street by myself, not by street thugs, but regular uniformed police. when i resisted guns were pointed at me. YES BY THE POLICE. Until then i would never have anything bad to say about Acapulco, but after that, i can no longer recommend Acapulco to no one. I still go there because it offers the best and warmest weather in mexico during this time of the year, but I no longer walk down the street at night, which i enjoyed that for 25 years, and when i see a police car go down the street i just cringe. So i do spend more time down in Cabo and I have to say since the media is beating up Mexico and the economy is as bad as it is in US, I now see prices of real estate falling in Cabo. The bright side is that maybe now a poor american small business owner like myself can finally afford my villa in Cabo and move down there before my own Government taxes me out of my house. Here i come!!!!

# April 8, 2010 12:15 PM

Dan D said:

I returned from Cabo last night. I can state categorically that it is as safe and comfortable as it has ever been, and that includes our more adventurous forays in walking through neighborhoods and hanging with locals, which most travelers wouldn't be doing anyway. Los Cabos is isolated at the very tip of BCS, and is very inaccessible to the thugs and other bad elements a thousand miles away. That goes for other parts of MX too. If you are questioning it, the answer is simply GO. Thanks for the great article Nick.

# April 14, 2010 9:07 AM
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