On the evening of the 15th of September there was a cowardly grenade attack on a happy crowd in Morelia out celebrating the proudest day in Mexican history, Independence Day! 107 innocent people were injured and 8 died. Morelia is the home town of the President of Mexico so there is every indication that a message was being sent. It has always angered me to hear people constantly telling us that Mexico is unsafe and that they would never go there. In my mind it has always been one Drug Gang killing off another Drug Gang and I knew it was unlikely to affect my safety in the country I have grown to love. Let them go at it, I thought. This latest attack has widened the traditional field of victims in the drug war.
The Government quickly rounded up all the usual suspects but released them one at a time, unable to find the perpetrators. Hopefully it was a single loony trying to make an unclear statement or to excise some demon in his mind. This happens all over the world every day. The attacks were not repeated so the idea of a conspiracy seems more remote.
I hope it wasn't but if it was part of the drug war, what can be done about it? The quick solution would be legalization of drugs on both sides of the border. Failing that, the USA Border Patrol should start pointing their guns the other way, at the people buying all the drugs that cross the border and financing the killings in Mexico.
Although federal officials are still uncertain, I fear that all this recent violence is in one way or another a part of the current drug war. Will it affect our travel in Mexico? No, but we will continue to be aware of where we are and what is going on around us. We do not use drugs or associate with people who do so we will never (at least knowingly) be around people who could be the perpetrators or victims of these attacks so we will be as safe as we can be under the circumstances.
When we went with our friend Les to Juarez to buy glasses earlier this year, we made a pact. If any one of us felt uneasy, we would immediatly leave, no questions asked. I think that is a good rule when visiting any unfamiliar area.
We live in dangerous times but Mexico is no more dangerous than anywhere else. Buildings are being blown up in the USA, subways are being bombed in London, trains in Spain, the list is long. If we stayed away from all these countries, we would never go anywhere and that is not an acceptable option for us.
September 28, 2008 Edit: