Mexico no longer safe, must save innocent ones

By Bertha Serrano

A couple of weeks ago, I found out one of my uncles almost got killed during a recent trip to Mexico. As custom, he had driven his SUV from California to avoid paying the expensive plane tickets for his whole family. A couple of miles away from their destination, three trucks came out of nowhere and surrounded them. They forced him to pull over, and from what he could tell, they had mistaken him for someone else—a drug dealer, he presumed.

Although my uncle panicked, he was smart enough to react fast, and get away once he saw the guns they were carrying. They followed him for some time, but eventually he lost them. The rumors he had heard and the recent reports on the news were true—Mexico is no longer safe.

According to a article, many are comparing the recent activities and deaths in Mexico to a civil war. There were about 5,400 deaths last year connected with drug cartels, more than double the 2,477 in 2007. One of the reasons given is because Mexico stopped being a drug-transit country and became a consumer of drugs.

The drug wars have not only affected those involved in the illegal drug trade, but innocent people like my uncle. I’ve heard a couple of stories from friends who have had worse luck with their relatives after having been kidnapped or had a gun to their head, because they looked like they had money or were mistaken for a drug dealer in the southern states of Mexico.

For this reason and a couple others, I haven’t been to Mexico in five years. The last time I went, I had somewhere to stay when I got there. I had a couple of aunts and uncles over there. My only family left now are my grandparents, and they don’t want to live there because they fear something might happen to them, too.

Government corruption and drugs have always been an issue in Mexico, but recent investigations and arrests have proven that government officials themselves have been receiving compensation from drug lords.

The article also stated that one of the nation’s top anti-drug officials, Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was recently arrested because he was receiving $450,000 a month in bribes from drug traffickers while in office—and this is the guy who was an advocate for the anti-drug movement.

There was also a beauty pageant queen, Laura Zuniga, who was arrested this past December because she was found with suspected drug traffickers in a truck filled with guns and ammunition. Zuniga was supposed to represent Mexico in the 2009 Miss International contest, but no longer will.

Mexico’s current president, Felipe Calderon, has been spending loads of money to fight drug cartels and has confiscated more drugs in his two-and-a-half years as president than any other Mexican president. But it’s still not enough. There’s no reason why innocent people should be the ones to suffer and fear for their lives.

No matter how good of a president Calderon might be, there’s no way things are going to get any better if his own government officials are behind all this. I’m sure they can do more than what they are doing now, but it probably won’t happen until someone with a lot of money or a prominence gets kidnapped or killed, because all the innocent bystanders are just not that important.

And the fact that the use of cocaine has doubled in Mexico for the past four years doesn’t make things better. Mexico needs to fix its domestic issues until it can tackle any drug trafficking issues with the U.S., because until then, innocent people will continue to die.