Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Puzzling out how dangerous Mexico travel might be

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - I wondered how long it would be before fears about safety in Mexico would reach Central California.

Sacramento is almost always somewhat behind the curve on this stuff.

But in response to some U.S. State Department travel advisories about dangers in border towns, CSU Sacramento and UC Davis have jumped on the fear bandwagon, urging students to skip spring break in Mexico because of the situation in some of the border towns.

The border towns.

One more time?

The border towns.

Nogales border
Downtown Nogales border fence

Now I don't mean to suggest that these students - or me either - should go hang out on a street corner in Ciudad Juarez or Nogales, or even Tijuana. Maybe especially Tijuana.

I would also advise these same students to stay out of parts of Oakland, Calif. at any time of day, thank you very much. Ditto for New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and most other U.S. metropolitan cities, all with their own safety issues - at least at certain times of the night.

But, please! Mexico is a huge nation, full of interesting places to visit. Many safe places, I might add. I've been to many and expect to go to many more.

In the meantime, in addition to Sacramento-area colleges urging students to avoid heading south, one area church was highlighted in a Sacramento Bee article published today. Its leaders are pulling the plug on a 13-year-old help project for a Mexican city in which about 700 young people - young people who annually have helped build houses and do various good-will projects in Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico. Instead, a contingent will travel to Fresno to help the needy there.

Good for them for donating their spring break time to do good works.

But, as they say in Mexico: Cuidado! (Watch out!)

There are parts of Fresno that might have their own drug cartels and wars going on.

Downtown Fresno
Downtown Fresno by day

1 comment:

  1. We are considering driving down into Mexico this winter (2009) and wondering if it is a sane thing to do. We like to pyramid hop and hence want our own vehicle with camper. We went in '92 with two small children and had no problem, getting as far as Guatemala.

    But now with all this violence happening I am wondering if it is a good plan. How are things past the border. Would we have to look out for trouble in Moneterray or Villahermosa? Is it true that Merida is getting dangerous? That was hard for me to believe when I heard it.

    Can you offer any updates for travel this winter?