Friday, May 15, 2009

4 Young Americans Murdered in Tijuana as Horrific Violence Escalates -- My Advice: Avoid Mexican Border Towns

[Above: This is how brazen the drug gangs are in Mexican border areas with the U.S. That's a roadside shrine to the drug trade's patron saint, one Jesus Malverde. I took the photo in late November in the hills outside Ensenada, Mexico. At left is Serge Dedina, the executive director of the coastal environmental group Wildcoast, with Saul Alarcon, the conservation manager.]


From the AP, via this morning: "The bound, beaten, strangled, and stabbed bodies of four young Americans have been found in a van in Tijuana, AP reports. The two men and two women left their homes in the San Diego and Chula Vista areas last week to visit Mexican nightclubs."

Here's the link to the report.

Later in the day today, the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper posted this far more detailed account. It suggests that the victims were in the habit of going to Tijuana to "party," and that at least one may have had some criminal connections.

Whatever, the dangers in these border towns, where innocent people have been killed in shootouts, have become unacceptable for travel, especially at night. People who travel south of the border to "party" need to understand that, for now, the party is over.

Here's more horrific recent news out of Tijuana.

That's it for me. I need no more evidence. I am going to avoid all of the Mexican border towns for the foreseeable future, and I urge you to do the same. Adios Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Juarez, Matamoros and all the rest.

The Mexican tourism authorities in those stricken cities have been desperately urging Americans to return, insisting that reports of unending bloody violence (6,000 murders in a year) are exaggerated.

Baloney. My friends at Wildcoast, which is based in San Diego with offices in Baja, described for me on a road trip through northern Baja late last November the sort of extraordinary precautions they need to take to avoid hijackings, robberies, kidnapings and worse as they go about their work on the Baja coast.

On that trip, I was stunned by the deserted look of the downtown streets of Tijuana and Ensenada -- usually thronged with American tourists.

I have a home in southern Arizona, and my wife and often visited Nogales on day trips with friends, sometimes just to have lunch.

No more. That's it. It is simply too damned dangerous to visit the Mexican border towns. Avoid them.


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