Bob posted a comment on my last post and was wondering if I could give more information about what I had written. I don't think I have ever spoken badly of someone, at least not openly and definitely not on this blog. The comments I made in the previous post were about some rvers or ex-pats who live in Mexico. Keep in mind, I am saying "some" not all and it is a generalization.
One of the first things that happens is that travelers to Mexico for the most part, have a tendency to stay out of major metropolitan areas. Sometimes for good reasons. In the case of rvers it is usually because rvs are not allowed on major avenues, or to cross some overpasses and it can get tricky and they prefer to avoid transit police. For ex-pats, major metro areas are things they either wanted to escape or because they are more expensive.
Another is the northern border territories. This seems to be because of the "so-called dangers" that persist in the border region. The border is an imaginary line. If you live in a place like the RGV, watching local evening new on KRGV you'll find it is the same on either side. It presents a false sense of security just as do the autopistas or toll roads. In reality, the northern states have proven to be safer than the southwestern states by a long shot. Here is an example:
In the above graphic you can see that the states most rvers frequent are the most dangerous; Baja California (both North and South) Chihuahua, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, Durango, Sinaloa, Morelos, and Edomex (State of Mexico). Of course, Tamaulipas is in the top three. That leaves the Colombia Bridge crossing coming down Hwy 1 through Nuevo Leon. Nuevo Laredo, down Hwy 85, and I'll explain in a minute.
(Categories are as follows:
- Homicidio - Homicides
- Secuestro - Kidnapping
- Extorsion - Extortion
- Robo a Casa - Home burglary
- Robo a Negocio - Business burglary
- Lesiones - Physical assault
- Violacion - Rape
Looking at the cities in the state of Tamaulipas, the danger zones are the far east coast. That is why I included Nuevo Laredo which is in all green. My point is that the news media has created this hype by painting the picture with a wide brush. How many rvers travel through Jalisco, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Morelos, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Baja? A lot. Because it is their perception that those areas are safe. In reality, for rvers and ex-pats it's pretty much true. For some Mexicans and organized crime members, not true at all.
This is a graphic of Nuevo Leon where everyone is afraid to pass through the state including the city of Monterrey:
Believe it or not, according the graphic, my little town is riddled with break-ins. In Monterrey, the issue is bank robberies. We have had a few in the last couple of months which is an increase over previous months increasing the percentage by quite a bit thus the red light. Think of a change from 2 to 10, that is a 500% increase. Little do people know, the majority of the robberies were customers in the bank with large sums of cash in hand meaning that someone knew they had the cash such as an employee of the company. Cashiers in Mexican banks only have access to 2000 -3000 pesos in their till at any given time depending on the institution.
Making this long story shorter, some people have rved full time or have lived as ex-pats in Mexico. Most of their experiences, because of their limited knowledge of the country as they only live or travel in small communities or rural areas, have led to misinformation about the country. Here are some examples of past and present:
- There are no ATMs in Baja California
- Electricity is free to poor people (in actuality it is stolen)
- The border crossings are very dangerous
- You can't find food stuffs such as peanut butter, cheddar cheese
- Gas station attendants will rip you off with the 500/50 switch (people claim it happens, imagine how many times I have filled up throughout Mexico in 30 years and have seen or heard of it from anyone other than rvers)
- Everyone is poor and that's why they go to the U.S.
- People actual earn minimum wage of 58 pesos a day (it is actually a measure, my pay is 10 minimum wages per hour as shown on my Mexican income statement, a seat belt violation from transito is charged as 4 minimum wages)
- Things can only be fixed with bribes and corruption is rampant (could be but I hear Mexicans say the government is corrupt. Okay, those people are our children, parents, relatives, neighbors, well, you get the idea)
- Electricity is bad in Mexico (in actuality it is within the norms established by the CFE, the US published standard for electric is 120 volts, for Canada the standard is 120 volts but for Mexico the standard is 127 volts. With a variable of + or - 4 or 5 volts on every case and it turns out that Mexico is usually within it's published standards)
- Public schools are not free (they are and I challenge anyone to the contrary)
What most people don't know and I have published this before is that there are a lot of programs for Mexicans. One of them is that milk is free to Mexicans under the age of 16 or 18 if pregnant or lactating. The problem is that people have to solicit the service from the government agency Linconsa and have a minimum of 100 members. For those who have been to Hacienda Contreras, the milk cans we see on the roads are delivered to Sahuayo to the milk production plant on the corner as you come down the hill from the rv park as you enter town.
There are a ton of services including money paid to all Mexicans over 65 "who apply" and receive between $1000 and $1500 pesos a month in addition to their pensions. This money comes on a debit card and is used for groceries. Doesn't sound like much but how many retired Americans receive that type of assistance plus free healthcare if they worked in the formal market? As many of you know, food in Mexico is very affordable and 1000 pesos buys a lot.
As you can see, most people base their knowledge on personal versus factual information. So many times over the years I've heard people say, " I heard someone say that they knew someone who . . . . '