SHALLOW GRAVES, DRUG CARTELS, CORRUPT POLITICIANS AND 43 STUDENTS MISSING IN MEXICO: IS MEXICO SAFE FOR TOURISTS?

Mayor, José Luis Abarca, and his wife

 

For over a month, 43 students have been missing and many locals around and near Iguala, Mexico are assuming the worst- they are dead. The students were from a rural teaching college near Iguala and had been protesting against policies and ideas supported by Iguala’s Mayor, José Luis Abarca. The mayor’s wife, Maria de los Angeles, was scheduled to give a speech in support of her husband and her candidacy for mayor; Apparently, the two didn’t want the disruption and ordered police to apprehend the students. The police then handed the students over to a drug trafficking cartel known as Guerreno Unidos who purportedly took the students to remote areas believed to be possible burial sites. The leader of the syndicate and several other cartel members have apparently been “detained” or arrested along with over 56 other people in connection with the disappearance of the students on September 26th.  Captured cartel members are allegedly providing information about factors either directly or indirectly related to the kidnappings. The scope and details of this information are, of course, unknown as well as methods being used by the federal police to obtain the info. Corruption between Mexican police, politicians and various cartels throughout Mexico is known to be widespread. The mayor and his wife are said to be “in the wind” as their complicity seems apparent.

Meanwhile, the bodies of three Americans and one Mexican were discovered (unrelated to the 43 students) on October 29th near Tamaulipas, Mexico- they went missing from Matamoros (an area known for drug-cartel activity) on October 13th. They were identified as Erica (26), Alex (22), Jose Angel Alvardo (21) (Americans), and Guadalupe Castaneda (Mexican).

Scores of bodies, deposited in shallow graves in Guerro and other parts of Mexico have been found- numerous others are missing. Over 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2007.  By way of comparison, tens of thousands of U.S. citizens are missing either through accidental or intentional death. None of this can be good news for Mexico’s President, Enrique Pena Nieto who has been spreading the word that violence associated with drugs, the police and politicians are on the decrease; his focus (and Mexican tourism types) have been on the crystalline waters of the coastlines, pyramids, music, resorts and Mexican history. It seems to be working. There were over 14 million visitors to hot spots in Mexico last year. Meanwhile, the small dunes of sand sprinkled across the countryside continue to house the bodies of those who might cross the cartel or some politician (or his wife)- even small gestures such as protesting or offending a local politician who is in cahoots with the drug lords can cause death.

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