DO NOT tell me about how you are terrified to visit Mexico!! Is this the craziest thing you have heard relating to Mexico the past few months? I encourage you to think for yourself, to see past political agendas and media hoopla and look at FACTS. It feels like every other day, there is new media frenzy about how big, bad and dangerous Mexico is and I roll my eyes, let out a little “pfft” in disgust but yet it seems the general public at large is really buying into this! Has perception always been more important than reality?? Probably.
Let’s talk FACTS. Some of the most recent headlines include “US State Department Issues Travel Ban for Cancun, Los Cabos” from CW33 NewsFix. What the....? Well, turns out this click bait article completely changes the headline after you click on the story. From Dallas News; “Stay Away from Cancun, Los Cabos, State Department Warns US Travelers”. From Bloomberg; “U.S. Warns Citizens about Traveling to Cancun”. Well, Dallas News & Bloomberg; you must have misread the announcement because there was nothing siting “stay away from” or that singled out Cancun but perhaps you thought these headlines would be more impactful, create more fear since a bulk of tourist resorts reside here? Fear sells after all.
The official US Department of State advisory reads: “Quintana Roo (includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum): U.S. citizens should be aware that according to Government of Mexico statistics, the state of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred.” Scary stuff, right? I have another headline for you America ~ the same can probably be said for your State! In all fairness, the FBI has not published the final 2016 violent crime reports for Ohio (the Uniform Crime Reporting Program data will not come out until this fall) but for Canton, Ohio, I can tell you there were 9 homicides in 2015, 12-13 in 2016 and appears to be at least 12 so far for 2017. What do you know… “Canton, OH is Experiencing an Increase in Homicide Rates Compared to Previous Years.” Are you scared to walk out your front door??
Let’s break it down a bit more. Quintana Roo itself has a population of 1,501,562 (2015) and nearly 10 million tourists visiting this Mexican State annually. So, for roughly 11,501,562 living in & visiting this destination; there have been 169 murders, approximately 2 of which appear to have been tourists so far this year. I don’t like to hear of anyone dying… but 2 out of 11.5 million? Even 169 out of 11.5 million? Seriously?? Why are these even headlines to begin with let alone ones so heavily slanted to make you think the worst??
Returning our focus back to Ohio; those residing in Canton have 1 in 88 odds of falling victim to violent crime. Akron = 1 in 168 | Cincinnati = 1 in 108 | Cleveland = 1 in 66 | Columbus = 1 in 183 | Toledo = 1 in 89 | Youngstown = 1 in 136. Yet you’re considering cancelling your vacation over this recent “horrific news” about Mexico? You’re spending your lunch break telling coworkers how you will never go to Mexico?? They are wholeheartedly agreeing with you?!? WHAT!? You're welcome to do whatever you feel is right, but as for me... I'll take my odds in Quintana Roo vs. Ohio on any given day.
Can I remind you that 49 died in the Orlando nightclub shootings in June 2016 and in January 2017 5 people were killed at the FLL shooting? Are you terrified to go to Florida (after all, this is just two stories; we all know the actual homicide rate is greater than these 54)? Funny, my Disney bookings are at an all-time high this year. I’m not saying you should be scared to go to Florida, I’m not… but this math & logic does not add up. So why is everyone jumping on the bandwagon against going to Mexico? Are we being conditioned to fear Mexico? (If so, why – nations tend to side with others that hold the same or similar religious & political dogmas; and Mexico is a fiercely strong God-fearing country.) Are media outlets just trying to drive viewership via fear-based tactics (and it’s working)? I suspect this has more weight than anything else. Is it because those things foreign to us here in the US creates a mental connotation of fear or skepticism?
FACT: The most dangerous part of any trip is your drive to the airport
FACT: Most of our own back yards are far more dangerous a place than Quintana Roo
FACT: There are bad people in every corner of the globe; it cannot be escaped wherever you may roam
FACT: You must exercise awareness of your physical surroundings and use common sense ANYWHERE you go!
Make of this rant what you will, but I encourage you to open your eyes a bit wider, to see the whole picture, to take into account factual data before making assumptions, to compare Mexico’s statistics against that of your own city/state/country, to not be so easily hooked and led like sheep, to not live in fear of most places unlike your own or most people unlike yourself.
This last note is probably the most disheartening. I have no idea what vision(s) pop in your mind when you hear the word “Mexico”. For me, it is a rich culture, exciting cuisine, a fascinating history with numerous ruins, amazing wildlife, a geological treasure of jungle, desert, cenotes, underground rivers and coastline, opportunities for adventure or maximum relaxation but most importantly – it’s the people. A majority of Mexicans are so incredibly happy, warm and welcoming. Nearly all those making a living in Quintana Roo’s tourist areas work so insanely long and hard to make sure YOU have an incredible time while visiting their country. They are proud of their heritage and their country as they should be and are eager to share it with you. As a travel ambassador to foreign nations, Mexico included, it’s equally embarrassing & infuriating to see with my own eyes how quickly so many here can condemn an entire country over sensationalized headlines (and on a sad side note, this is far too quickly becoming commonplace practice across numerous topics in the States). I’ll leave you with a few more pics to help humanize “Mexico”. THIS is what I see most in my mind when I think “Mexico”.