Thursday, March 24, 2011

Businesses Forced to Close

An influential Mexican business group says that 10,000 businesses closed last year because of security problems. This is a pretty good reflection of the pernicious developments in the Mexican underworld over the past five years, even beyond the rise in the murder rates. It's not the spike in killings that made these businesses close, but, the group says, kidnappings and extortion. This is, in that sense, a qualitatively different challenge.

This also doesn't measure the businesses that never opened because of security concerns. I actually had an idea for a street-side food-stand during my last six months in Torreón that would have surely made a killing, and in the process also given me the incredible pleasure of telling my horrid boss that I was quitting due to a more compelling opportunity to sell sandwiches on the side of the road. The plan was taking shape. I talked to other people who'd done similar stuff, started to build a client base through friends and acquaintances, put together the figures giving me a rough idea of what my profit margins would be, designed the portable grill set-up I needed and talked to a guy who could build it for me, and scoped out the space where I was going to set up shop. In short, I was ready to go. This close. Then, the daughter of a successful restaurant-owner a couple blocks from me was kidnapped and murdered by an organized crime group and the Oxxo that was to let me use the parking lot for my cash cow was held up at gunpoint. Suddenly, being out on the street every night with lots of cash seemed less attractive, so I reluctantly deferred the idea to a later date.

No comments: