Thursday, February 28, 2013

México: Despite Stepped Up Security for US, Canadian Spring-Breakers, Cancún Discouraged

COMMENT: A word of caution for the parents of college students and young adults:

According to EFE, “Operation Spring Breakers 2013” calls for the deployment of 138 tourism police officers, 100 federal law enforcement agents, 86 marines and 80 army troops to maintain order in Cancún.

The augmentation of additional military and police support during spring break is scheduled to be in effect until April 15, where at least 60,000 college students from the US and Canada are expected to arrive over the next few weeks to enjoy their break from the rigors of academia.

Although it is completely understandable why the state of Quintana Roo accounts for roughly 50% of México's tourism revenues, the fact is that the Texas Department of Public Safety for the third year in a row has issued a travel warning to all young adults to avoid México during spring break.

While México's envoy to the US, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, was quick to criticize the DPS travel advisory, I concur with it for the following reasons:

Parents, please do consider the downsides for your sons and daughters:

1. México has one of the most corrupt police systems in Latin America with misconduct being a common occurrence;

2. Please note that Mexicans themselves, according to México's National Human Rights Commission, report crimes only 8% of of the time and only 1% of those victimized ever result in a conviction;

3. Many of the sexual assaults, shootings and other acts of violence we commonly see in México, which can occur anywhere, should be a concern for all US and Canadian parents;

4. Misunderstandings in language almost always produces conflicts between young adults and uniformed police and military personnel; 

5. Alcoholic beverages in México are much stronger than those found at home, which renders young adults much more vulnerable to doing things they might otherwise not do; and

6. Being detained and/or arrested in México is no day at the beach; it varies dramatically from one young adults may experience at home.

It is noteworthy to point out that many young adults from both the US and Canada look forward to "letting their hair down" with excitement and often don't possess the experience to do things in moderation.

In the end, most parents want their sons and daughters to have a safe experience during spring break, not one that may result in their being unexpectedly victimized and/or detained/arrested in a country not particularly well known for its benevolence toward foreigners.