The state of Rio de Janeiro and its capital city have one tenth of the inhabitants of Mexico. To equal Rio's violence, Mexico would have to have had since 2003 roughly 420,000 homicides, 80,000 civilians killed by the police for resisting them and 320,000 disappeared.And in response, Ciro Gómez:
What have the authorities in Rio, the media outlets, and the Brazilian government done with the violence? They have obtained a historic triumph: they have made the city the host of the World Cup to be held in 2014. And for Brazil, the host of the Olympics in 2016. [For the record, he has it backwards here; the Olympics will be in Rio, while the World Cup is nationwide.]
In the last seven years there have been some 35,000 homicides associated with drug trafficking and the war that the state started with these gangs in Mexico.
What have the media outlets and the Mexican government done with these figures, ten percent of those of Rio?
We have sent to the rest of the world the idea that Mexico is a violent nation, more dangerous than Iraq, unsafe for investment and for tourism, a threat for its citizens, with a government defeated by crime and a population convinced that the war against crime has already been lost.
Is Rio selling a lie, the disguise of a bloody and uninhabitable city that hides its hellholes to trick tourists? No, it's selling a marvelous city that has a problem with endemic violence that doesn't stop if from functioning as the great city that it is. It puts an accent on its greatness, not its miseries.
What are we selling? What have we already sold? The idea of a country chocked by violence, nothing else. Hand out the blame however you like: collectively, we have behaved very foolishly.
Before taking my portion of foolishness and continuing my life in tranquility, I'll have to at least ask him, Why have we been so foolish?Both make irrefutable points, but I think the goal is more than anything to find an appropriate place on the spectrum between the two extremes of Pollyanna-ism on one end, and willful cynicism and defeatism on the other. As a whole, Mexico is closer to the latter extreme, and would benefit if 2011 brought a shift toward Aguilar's point of view.
Why have we been so brutally sensationalistic? Why has marketing failed us? Is kidnapping and extortion, which are spreading, softened by the marketing geniuses? Or can they be brushed under the rug with an agreement about media integrity?
What about Tamaulipas in this foolishness? What is the daily life, beyond the numbers, in Ciudad Juárez and Gómez Palacio? Are Monterrey and Michoacán journalistic exaggerations, media immorality, awful public relations strategies?