Can Saying No to Mexican Tourism Help Stop The Killing?

The news out of Mexico isn’t getting any better.  According to Time Magazine, Mexican soldiers and forensic officials  descended on a house in an upscale neighborhood in Durango this past weekend to unearth dozens of  presumed drug cartel victims buried in the garden.—innocents among them.  The seventh such mass grave in Durango this month.

Durango may not be in the tourist pathway, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the narco murders continue without restraint, they have affected almost every state in the country, their number has reached 40,000 in the past four years and, as Jorge Santiago, spokesman for the Durango State Human Rights Commission mused to Time: How could residents and authorities not know something was terribly amiss at the house on Calle Petunias? “That’s the incredible part,” said Santiago.

“It’s purely demoniacal,” said Javier Sicilia, a Mexican poet whose son was murdered by narco-criminals this year.  “It threatens our democracy.”

For a country such as Mexico, with its boundless beauty and historical richness, to be torn apart this way, federal, state and local government officials and police forces have to be complicit at a lot of different levels. Clearly, the Calderon government, which declared a war on the narco-traffickers more than four years ago is not up to the job.

Maybe the best incentive to stop this carnage, is for tourists to simply say “they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more,” and swear off taking any trips to Mexico until the swamp has been drained. Mexico without tourism would challenge the durability of any government, but maybe it’s time for travelers who love Mexico to practice some tough love. Enabling this government to limp along by encouraging travel “only to the safe areas” is doing nobody any favors—least of all the Mexican people—who deserve better.

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