Drug-related violence in Mexico has been making news headlines again this month. The wanton slaying of US consulate staff in Ciudad Juarez, which followed hot on the heels of the murder there of sixteen teenagers in late January has further blighted a city considered hopelessly mired by the influence of drug cartels who control the area by ruthless means; a part-and-parcel characteristic of their multi-billion dollar annual business.
The drug trade is a business: illicit, immoral, destructive—but a business, nonetheless. If the demands for addictive chemicals were not so acute in relatively affluent nations including the United States and Western Europe, these cartels would dissolve into the very darkness they ply; alas, affluence brings with it a myriad of challenges, one of which appears to be an unfathomable and insatiable thirst for drugs and narcotics.
While we can all count upon the mainstream media to report the blood and bullets ad nauseam, it’s wise to maintain composure of mind in relation to the bigger picture in Mexico—the most remarkable fact is that the overwhelming majority of cities and towns across the length and breadth of Mexico are peaceful, tranquil and non-violent.
The media’s omission of this important wider aspect presents an opportunity for observers who are willing to probe behind the headlines. Tourists’ and visitors’ risks of being touched by drug violence have been, and remain, minuscule. Expats who have lived in Mexico for some while now and consider the country their home, full or part-time, know that while there are risks in Mexico, they are no higher and perhaps even considerably lower than the risks they are presented with in their home countries.
When you take the time to delve into the reams of statistics published on the subject, you’ll find that Mexico is considerably less risky to one’s health and well-being than many other places in the world. To really understand this, you need to visit Mexico in person—the cities and towns where tourists go and enjoy their vacations; and the increasing number of locations where expats move to and take quiet enjoyment of lives among the communities they have chosen to adopt here.
Ciudad Juarez, Culiacan, Tijuana are today not a true representation of Mexico. To say that all Mexico is like this would be to say that Forbes roll-call of ‘America’s most dangerous cities’ is a representation of the United States as a whole. Clearly, it is no such thing.
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