Well it’s that time of the year. time for the annual migration of Paisanos, or Mexican Citizens living in the United States to visit family in Mexico for the holidays Also many Mexican-Americans have close family in Mexico that they keep in contact with It’s a joyful time but there have always been problems. In the old days, say pre 1980’s the biggest problems were corrupt border guards and police that fed off of the mid winter migrants like artic wolves on caribou herds. The extortion, while not pleasant, was usually not life threatening, and there were limits. In other words a Paisano might lose some of the more expensive toys he had brought, but they wouldn’t take everything.
The Narco-Cartels have no such compunctions.
One thing that will be interesting is to see how many of the Paisanos will remain in Mexico. Immigrants both legal and illegal have been self deporting over the last 4 years of recession. When the figures are tabulated, or should I say, guess-timated, they should give some kind of indication of the state of economic recovery. For sure it will be more accurate than the statements of the politicians on the issue.
For people driving through the Northern Border States into the interior of Mexico, discretion and deception is the better part of valor. I’ve had eyewitness accounts from Monterey and San Luis Potosi; people there are still under a reign of terror. Streets empty before dark and people hunker down cowering in their houses. The well off are fleeing to the United States and the not so well off pray that much harder to the Virgen.
A Tejano I know from the Rio Grande Valley was going to San Luis Potosi to see family. He made sure to take his 14 year old battered SUV, dress in old clothes, never travel at night, and to in general blend in. Like I said discretion and deception. Also he was short in stature and moreno, or brown. If you get tagged as an American it is automatically assumed that you have money; therefore you become a target.
How many more years will all this be necessary when traveling to Mexico? Impossible to say. The demonization of the Marijuana plant has just about run it’s course. Look for some new substance to be propagandized as the new public enemy number one to replace Cannabis. I don’t know what that would be yet; but the police state that has grown up around the drug war will not go away quietly.
In the meantime the words are for traveling into Mexico are:
Discretion and Deception