Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Last week, we, the Endangered Families in Mexico (EFMs), had a scare-you-out-of-being-complacent meeting at the Consulate with all of the higher-ups there.

In other circles, I suppose this is considered a security briefing, but as this is a relatively secure city - look, I'm already pretty complacent about Hermosillo's violence, or lack there of - they talked mostly about the blood and carnage in Monterrey (which while upsetting and bad, is still no where near the disaster that is Juarez [can't pronounce Juarez without "war."]).

We are living in Prohibition Era America here where mob rule rears its ugly head from time to time. More so in the northeast, but it works its way into Sonora from time to time.

This wasn't my first security briefing since I've been here, and of course there are several unofficial security briefings in which you hear stories.

All in all, here is my list of findings regarding safety here:

Hermosillo is a safe city. So maybe this isn't a no-lock-your-door-at-night, American Heartland city, but I almost feel the only way you are going to be insecure here is if you go out of your way looking for trouble. Another American here describes Hermosillo as the eye of the storm, meaning that while all sorts of bad things happen around us, Hermosillo is quiet. My only problem with that analogy is that implies eventually the eye will pass and Hermosillo will go up in flames like some of the other cities, but I don't think that will happen here.

We are in the long narrow section on the left - no competition.
Life is better under single cartel rule. The big problem in the northeastern part of Mexico is that a part of one cartel broke off and created a rival faction. So now there are turf wars and competing interests. Here in Hermosillo, we essentially live under the thumb of the Sinaloa Cartel. Sure, it sucks that a cartel can have such a strong presence, but as long as it is one group calling the shots, we live in relative peace and tranquility.

The only threat is the effects of the war on drugs. The latest scare-you-out-of-complacency meeting did have one lingering effect on me. We were told that the Mexican and American governments' war against the drug cartels has resulted in fewer drugs and weapons crossing the borders, which is hurting the cartels' bottom line. This means they will look for alternative sources of income. One such source is kidnapping, and the fear is that there has been increased kidnappings in the northeast.

Red states have more cartel violence. Green has less.
We live in a dark green.
 As long as the cartels are strong, which will be for as long as I'm in Hermosillo, there is always the threat of danger. But in Hermosillo, we aren't exactly living in fear of potential outbreaks. Yeah, you are best off avoiding some areas at night and you want to stay off the highways at night for sure, but much of the crime here is similar to that you'd experience in any city with about million people, many of whom live at some level of what Americans would consider poverty.


  1. The last few night we have played the "Is that popping fireworks or gunshots?" We checked the news, one night gunshots, one night fireworks. It's a pretty exciting game.
    I hope you guys have a great Mexican Independence Day celebration!

  2. "We were told that the Mexican and American governments' war against the drug cartels has resulted in fewer drugs and weapons crossing the borders, which is hurting the cartels' bottom line."

    That's fairly unlikely/standard War on [Some] Drugs propaganda though... what they almost have to say... considering that the US remains the world's largest consumer of coke, and use and abuse rates of almost all illegal drugs have remained stagnant [mostly within statistical significance] over the past twenty to thirty years since Nixon started the whole War on Drugs.

    But we have spent billions every year, achieved the highest prison incarceration rates in the world while increasingly militarizing our police forces.

    Bah, humbug. We learned nothing from the Prohibition of the '20s. Violence is a result of the illegality. Pespi and Coke don't have shootouts and bombings over market share. When you have no legal recourse for competition over a product that has always been in demand and always will be, then violence ensues.

    Continued safety to you & yours.

    Links worth reading, if so inclined:





  3. If only you could've been a fly on the wall at our Security Briefings in Monterrey.....

  4. What It’s Like to Chill Out With Whom the Rest of the World Considers As The Most Ruthless Men: Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic (+) Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator By Jill Louise Starr NJ USA


    Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand. Mladic, a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community. Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling. There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances. Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.
    Diplomatic / International Relations Consultant & War Crimes Investigator
    - War
    - Peace
    - Preventive Diplomatic Strategies
    - International Law
    - Charitable Causes
    - International Business
    - International Political Economy
    - Human Rights - Politics
    - War Crimes Investigations
    - Anti-Terrorism
    - Law Projects Center Funded Projects (YCICC) Internationally