Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time To Fess Up

I have a confession to make! We have been watching the drug violence in Mexico closely ever since we came home in April. We thought (hoped) it would blow over after the gangs killed off most of each others members but this does not seem to be happening. The violence used to be centered on the borders with a little seeping down the west coast, leaving the central Colonial areas and the Yucatan in relative peace.

The battles have now intensified with the narcos using military tactics as well as recruiting mercenaries from Central America. There has been one car bomb with threats of more to come. Despite the valiant efforts of the navy, marines and federalies the gangs seem to have free reign to operate wherever they choose. Calderon's war on drugs seems to be failing, at least for now. The death toll is now at 25,000 with no end in sight.

Admittedly, the violence has not reached the RV'ing community to any great extent. There have been some hijacking of vehicles and one shooting incident in our old RV park in Mazatlan but so far, no one has died. Our friends Jonna and Mimi in Merida tell us that in their area, there is no problem whatsoever and mi amigos John and Anita Calypso live in peace in the mountains west of Veracruz. On the other hand, Chris and Juan in Monterrey have been uncomfortably close to a lot of violence in the past few months. I am beginning to understand that there are two Mexico's, one I want to be in and one I want to avoid. The problem is, you have to pass through one to get to the other.

Like I say, we have been watching closely and now it is time to start making some plans for the winter. I cannot be called a scardy cat as far as travel goes as we have never backed away in the past. We have always been careful and aware of our surroundings in Mexico as well as in the USA and Canada ("situational awareness" as my military friend Steve or "Belgique" from North Carolina calls it). We know the warning signs of violence and avoid those areas and circumstances. The problem in Mexico is that police and soldiers are being attacked while simply driving down the road. The weapons being used are military issue and tend to spray a lot of bullets around in a very short time. If you are nearby when this happens there is a chance you may be hit.

If you want an up close and personal look at the violence in Mexico have a look at Borderland Beat. It is very graphic and maybe a little sensational but no responsible person can ignore the facts and this site shows them all in gritty detail!

All of you who know me know how hard it is for me to say this because I love Mexico and her wonderful people. We have traveled from one end of the country to the other with no problems but I think the time has come to take a year off.

We are looking at the Texas Gulf Coast as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. There are places down there we have always wanted to see and this might be our best chance. The Blog will still be called "Croft's Mexico" because that is where my heart is and will always be considered my second home. This will just be one year off...

On the other hand, those of you who have been watching this Blog know how likely we are to stick to our plans!

My overriding emotion over the whole situation is anger! Anger at those who make canceling our winter of RVing in Mexico necessary and anger at myself for succumbing to the threats.

It is a sad situation! Perhaps we can meet some of our Mexican friends in the States sometime over the winter. It would be "almost" as much fun.


  1. Dave and I in the Guadalajara RV park understand your concern. This RV park has also seen a carjacking and a shooting a month or so ago. The carjacking targeted an expat's brand new truck, and the shooting we think was probably drug related.

    The park also had a collection of headless bodies dropped off at the entrance, as a convenient depository by the local drug gangs fighting for control around here.

    There's fairly regular reports of violence spreading south from the border into Jalisco as well. Not enough to concern us living here, but if we were travelling a lot in the RV we'd be more concerned - especially on the road north.

    Andrew and Dave

  2. Yes, we are asking ourselves whether we should return to the Maz area this winter. After the violence in the early spring a number of folks in the RV park that we stay at near Teacapan decided that they will not return this winter. We hope things quieten down as the Pacific beaches are much better for us than spending time in the southern US.


  3. I'm the guy (Belgique) that Croft cites. This is a tough decision for all of us that love Mexico for its people, culture, history, and landscape. Croft and Norma share memories, with us, of the RV park on the Emerald Coast, called Yuri. The owner, Antonia. a single mom, is trying to keep the park open whilst she is caring for her handicapped daughter. "Tough" does not adequately describe it. And there are many other RV parks that will, also, feel these kind of decisions. And now, because of the cartels, folks like us and Croft/Norma aren't coming and spending money. What is the solution? I don't know. Croft accurately describes the situation. We'll be in Key West but that is a distant second place of where we would rather be.

  4. Croft a very tough call for Norma and you to make and I for one am sorry to hear about it...but you are right about the issues...I am still planning on leaving Nov 1st and heading to SMA and my girls....I have not given up on seeing you down there yet....Les

  5. We are with you on this one. We enjoyed ourselves in Arizona and California last winter, after seven winters driving in Mexico. This was mostly new to us as we always had been in a rush to get to Mexico or else get home to B.C.This spring we met up with several friends coming out of Mexico, to a person they were relieved to be Stateside safely, several had heard gunfire close by and concern for personal safety had red lined. My dear wife won't go back, unless we leave our rig and fly down for a month or so.

  6. Looks like I'm not the only one making gut wrenching decisions right now. Do what's best for you!

  7. Well I guess there will be lots of empty parking spaces for us! We will try and find another RV or two to cross the border with and hopefully travel the first couple of days with, but if not we will do it alone. The odds of having problems are simply not worth worrying about in our opinion. Everybody has their own level of comfort, I suppose.

  8. Right on Croft,my sentiments exactly.I also have been following Borderland beat and the Mex-connect forum.Finding that's forum is really doing a dis-service by not allowing many posts on the hazards.Those autopista's, better known as drug routes are getting too dangerous,and travelling in numbers means nothing.
    I was going to do a blog post this week about all of this but you penned my sentiments exactly.Its so sad that this beautiful country with fabulous people has been subjected to this "Civil War"and I feel for the owners of the parks,many who have worked so hard to build a customer base.
    So I guess I'll take a year off and be a winter Texan for a change.

  9. TOUGH decision! I'm sorry to hear about it but I'd be more sorry to hear that you were blown up.

  10. I wish they could just go about their business and leave us the heck alone. All we want is to enjoy the sights, rving and all the camaraderie that goes along with it.

    I keep asking myself, how do you end all of this?. I'm tired of it but I refuse to stop enjoying Mexico. Kind of hard since I live here.

    I understand everyone's concern though. Sad, sad, sad.

    Looks like we'll have to head north to see everyone!

  11. I too can understand your decision. It's a tough call. I'd probably drive north if I needed to and just figure the odds are with me that all will be well. It would not be as carefree a trip as in the past though. Instead, we're considering an RV trip south, back to Guatemala and maybe farther. We'll see though, it's hard to get packed up and go now that we have a house.

    I think the one thing that Mexico has to do to fix this is to go for their money. This is something that the MX govt has never been willing to do. It is how they broke the Mafia in the US and how they control much of the gangs up there. Take their money, never let them get enough to buy themselves out of trouble. Easy to say, hard to do.

  12. My overriding emotion over the whole situation is anger! Anger at those who make canceling our winter of RVing in Mexico necessary and anger at myself for succumbing to the threats.

    It is a sad situation! Perhaps we can meet some of our Mexican friends in the States sometime over the winter. It would be "almost" as much fun.

  13. Well said. We too are in the process of making that decision. Our hearts say go, but our brains say "what, are you nuts?" May the heart win.

  14. I look forward to the Croft Report each winter you and Norma are here - so this is sad news.

    I made two trips across the border (once there once back)with no problem. In fact very easy, no mordita abd a smooth trip. I felt the Mexican side was trying very hard to make things welcome here - it is almost as if whatever it is that is going on is actually working to the expat and visitors advantage.

    I would never say never on the chances of having a problem - but keeping your nose clean and enjoying Mexico should remain an option for any adventurer I think.

    I refuse to let it be an issue for me - until it is one I suppose ;-0

    We will miss you down here amigos.