Mexico has some beautiful beaches. Where the beach patrol sports now sports body armor and military rifles, to guard against drug cartel violence. One Mexican real estate developer – Carlos Mimenza – employs 200 men to keep his family safe in the Playa del Carmen resort area.
True story. Cartel violence has encroached on tourist areas, once thought safe. Of course, if a real estate developer needs a 200-man army to keep his family safe, what’s the ordinary Mexican to do in a nation with corrupt authorities and strict gun control laws?
Today, narco-violence risks Mexico’s $20 billion tourist industry. The protective bubbles surrounding popular tourist areas have shrunken, or in some places (e.g., Acapulco) evaporated completely. Cartel thugs simply don’t care who ends up dead as they pursue their enemies.
Bloomberg has the story on the increasing danger to visitors at Mexico’s popular vacation destinations – along with the locals.
The narco-traffickers already hold sway over swaths of Mexico, either co-opting state officials or openly defying them. Now they’re encroaching on the country’s spring-break meccas like never before, leaving bodies in suitcases outside exclusive condos, or shooting up nightclubs. The bubble that’s protected international beachgoers is threatening to burst.
…That’s because Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel had been weakened, and its upstart rival, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion gang, emboldened. Their turf war intensified and spread to previously peaceful oases like Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean, as well as west-coast destinations like Los Cabos. In Quintana Roo state, which includes the former two resorts, the murder rate has doubled this year; in Baja California Sur on the Pacific, it’s almost quadrupled.
While Mexico’s tourist numbers continue to hold steady, other numbers show that prudent visitors stay on the resort properties. After all, nobody wants to stumble into a gun battle between cartels or the authorities.
Just as in American cities plagued by violence, the local Mexican officials know that reports of violence drive down tourism. They try to keep the bloodshed out of the media, but anyone with internet access can read the news.
Of course, the locals working in the service industry feel the pinch as violence-leery tourists stay on the beaches and out of the surrounding towns. Also from Bloomberg:
… Tourists might still be in their rooms and on the beach, but fewer are coming into town. Sales at Victoria’s Secret on Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen’s main drag, have tumbled 50 percent. They’re down 24 percent at the Swatch store next door. Martin Perez, who waits tables at a nearby restaurant, said he makes a quarter of the tips he used to.
Many locals can pinpoint when things started to go wrong. In January, right off Quinta Avenida, five people were gunned down during an electronic music festival at the Blue Parrot. Perez’s voice trails off as he looks over at the now boarded-up nightclub.
“This is where the debacle of my people began,” he said.
Thankfully, here in America, we have the right to keep and bear arms. Over 6% of Americans have carry licenses today, and still more carry in Constitutional Carry states where permission slips aren’t required.
Unlike Mexico, Americans have the right to firearms for self defense. We use them to stop violent attacks millions of times each year. On those rare times when the authorities can’t or won’t stop violence, gun owners often step up to the plate.
Thanks goodness we live in America where the Founders had the foresight to enshrine that right.