Travel Warnings are up along the border, especially in the state of Tamalipas, Mexico. The word from sources is not good either. The army is crawling all over the border, but they seem to do little if any good. They’ve been deployed en mass since 2006, and they seem to have taken over, but nothing has really changed. In most municipalities the police forces are intimidated, part of the criminal organizations, or simply have ceased to exist. I believe the army has taken over all the “piso” (mordida that is charged to operate various outlaw businesses) and the police feel lucky if they are allowed to stay alive. There is some real community policing done by old men with batons; but they are not allowed to carry a gun. So you could say that law and order are a thing of the past, but business somehow keeps going. Predators and prey. The disarmed and beaten down public can only tweet and post their displeasure on the internet. But that’s about it.
The Maquiladora business still is strong and the drug business always does well. These businesses are ordered at the highest level. The fix is always in here. The upper one per cent are doing better and better, both in the United States and in Mexico. However, border tourism having shrunk to almost non-existent may wink out of existence all together.
Saying this, Mexican tourists still head north, no problem there. The road from Monterrey to Mcallen and Reynosa seems to be secure for now. But Mexicans have little choice but to take their chances. However Americans going to Mexico have other options. They can stay home, or head north.
The little tourist towns along the border have been for the most part free of the violence and kidnapping that the major towns have experienced. That could be changing.
When you finish dinner and two rough looking individuals demand 500 dollars each, and you say you don’t have it, and they say fine, we accept credit cards, you know better than to go to the police. There are no police.
It seems the deal with the local government to leave tourists alone could have broken down, or perhaps without even the smidgeon of law enforcement that existed previously small time crooks are taking advantage of the terror and confusion that swirls in the vacuum that once was The Republic of Mexico. There are other stories as well.
Keep your eyes open and perhaps take a few hundred dollars with you when you go below the line, but leave your credit cards at home.
Many people have to go to Mexico to visit family and for medical, dental, and medicinal reasons. So mucho ojo! (watch out).