Spring break and another warning about going to Mexico
Mexico has been in the news lately for a couple of reasons.
First, my good friend Allan Wall told me this week that Texas has issued another warning about traveling to Mexico for spring break:
In 2010 the state of Texas warned spring breakers not to visit cities on Mexico's northern border.
The next year, 2011, the state warned them against visiting the entire country of Mexico. The same was done in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
This year, 2015, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) published a February 24th news release entitled, DPS Offers Spring Break Safety Tips for Texans.
The document has plenty of good advice, “tips for safe travel during the Spring Break holiday.” Travelers should check vehicle maintenance before travel, drive defensively and slow down, wear a seat belt, not drive while fatigued, and not be distracted by an electronic apparatus. That’s all good advice anywhere, at any time of the year.
After that it says that the “DPS also urges Texans to avoid travel to Mexico.”
So that makes this the sixth consecutive year the DPS has warned Texans against visiting Mexico during spring break.
To be fair, the warning is focused on border areas. There is no real problem if you travel to the major resorts such as Cancún or Acapulco. The real problem is for who choose to drive, a popular option for students in the past.
The Mexican government is unhappy about the warning, but it's hard to blame Texas authorities for the cautionary statement.
On another front, Mexico has been making some major arrests of cartel leaders, such as "La Tuta," the leader of Michoacan's "Caballeros Templarios":
Early in the morning on Friday February 27, 2015 Mexican Federal Police captured cartel leader Servando Gómez Martínez, aka “La Tuta,” in the city of Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, a state in southwestern Mexico. Gomez was one of the main leaders of the cultish drug trafficking group known as the Caballeros Templarios, a brutal organization that engaged in meth production as well as kidnapping and extortion.
The group has been decimated though targeted arrests and attacks by citizen defense groups, federal police, and army patrols over the course of 2014. Unlike other Templario leaders such as Nazario Moreno, a man who went by the alias El Chayo, who was killed in early 2014, Gomez remained on the run for over a year, and had been rumored to be hiding in caves in isolated parts of the state.
We congratulate the persistence of the Mexican government. I don't think that they get enough credit for the work that Mexican soldiers and policemen do to track down these gangs and apprehend the leaders.
Michoacan is an important region because it exports over $1 billion in avocados to the U.S.
Maybe someday we can go back to those days when Michoacan was known for colonial architecture and delicious avocados. Unfortunately, Americans are consuming something other than avocados. In fact, our consumption of illegal drugs sends billions of dollars to these vicious cartels terrorizing farmers and communities. The best-known estimate is $19 to $29 billion in cash, according to CNN.
So let me leave you with a couple of thoughts about Mexico:
1) Be careful if you are driving through the border areas. You are better off using public transportation.
2) Keep in mind that your consumption of illegal drugs is funding vicious gangs south of the border, killing lots of people who get in their way.