Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mexico City Opinions on the Rest of Mexico

Mario Bellatin offers a rather DF-centric view of Mexico's security concerns in today's NY Times:
Ordinary citizens feel that this situation barely affects them. Bad things happen to other people ... over there.

It’s as if the whole country were made up of people who rent and people who are rented, as if one half of society has contracted the other to carry out the role of mutilated corpse, hit man, corrupt official or missing woman. There are no victims or criminals — just hired men.
I suspect that this is just a reflection of northern Mexico as opposed to Mexico City, but this couldn't be further from the truth in Torrón. Four years ago it probably was, but today it's hard to find anyone here who says that organized crime hasn't at some point had an impact on their daily life, much less that it "barely affects them". I don't mean to be overly dramatic or overstate the degree to which I've personally been affected (which is relatively low, thank God; now I shall go knock on wood), and part of this discrepancy surely comes from reading and writing about security in Mexico on a daily basis, but most of it is the fact that violence is in the atmosphere in Torreón, and I imagine most of the North. Ordinary citizens swap stories about extortions and kidnappings and car robberies and murders on a daily basis, the way in a normal city people will bitch about the weather or politics. And the typical number of degrees of separation for such conversations has declined. Just a couple of days ago, I heard about these unfortunate victims from someone who knew one of them. A coworker's brother was murdered in his car earlier this year. A kidnapping victim was released nearly naked in front of my house a few months ago. I could go on. Bad things may happen to other people, but the victims are decidedly not over there, and you worry that they could also happen to you or the people you love.

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