A colleague recently posted to the APsaA list-serve a wrenching message indicating that she felt this blog and IPA messages were “white-washing” the security situation in Mexico City. I admit to being very taken aback, especially by the intense tone of the email and the degree of alarm she felt.
It occurred to me that perhaps in conveying to you the results of my personal research into the safety situation in Mexico City, I had failed to be sufficiently empathic to the general level of fear in the U.S. about safety in Mexico. For that I apologize. But I remain convinced that Mexico City is as safe as any large global city and that IPA members can visit without any more concern than they would need contemplating a visit to New York or Rome.
There is one situation somewhat unique to Mexico City—everyone agrees that you should not hail a cab on the streets but rather pick one up at designated stands, use a radio dispatched taxi, or have the concierge direct you to a cab. Other than that, and taking another look at State Department assessments, I can see no reason to be afraid to travel to Mexico City. And as I’ve tried to communicate elsewhere in this blog, many reasons to visit.
The U.S. State Department maintains a weekly update of security problems in Mexico (and elsewhere of course).
For the week of January 10, the State Department commented on 3 instances of crime. One was a gruesome crime wave in Acapulco leaving 31 dead over a 48 hour period, including two policemen. The second was closure of health care clinics in Sinaloa due to local violence. And finally, 2 bystanders were killed in a drive by shooting in Guadalajara. The latter crime happens, sadly, with great frequency in the U.S. including my hometown of Chicago. The other two situations though are specifically linked to the campaign against the Mexican drug cartels. Mexico is a big country. Acapulco is 300 miles from Mexico City, and Sinaloa is 880 miles. And you have to grasp the Mexico City is an enormous modern sophisticated city with over
21 million people in the metropolitan area. This makes it very different from a vulnerable border town or beach resort. In other words, the drug wars are real, and they are dangerous, but the vast majority of the victims are also involved in the drug wars somehow, and they are NOT in Mexico City. The facts of the situation are such that that is not just a matter of chance that could change in an instant.
If you want to stay up to date on the State Department’s security updates on Mexico, go to Mexico Security Update. Just be sure to note the location of events, and understand that just because something happens in the country of Mexico does not mean it is going to happen in Mexico City—it’s a large and varied nation.
During my December trip to Mexico City, I was lucky to spend a couple of days in the company of some wonderful young women students of psychoanalysis in their mid twenties. I saw two of them again in New York during APsaA’s meeting and we had dinner together with my family and Pablo Cuevas. In New York, after a late dinner, I worried just a bit about their getting in a cab and getting back to their hotel safely. A month earlier, in Mexico, I had observed their confidence navigating their home city. Big cities are big cities. I can promise you there is no attempt to whitewash or distort information. Mexico City was an absolute delight, and I hope to go back more than once, to have a chance to see everything I want to see.