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pedro malo

Safety of Driving Autopista 15D to Valle de Bravo?

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I'd appreciate opinions from this webboard on the safety of driving from Lakeside to Valle de Bravo, taking Autopista/Cuota 15D east to Atlacomulco, then south on 55D to Valle de Bravo. Any trouble, road blocks, carjackings or other dangers along this route lately?

My wife and I plan on taking our visiting granddaughters to see Monarch Butterflies at Piedra Herrada near Valle de Bravo in January. Of course I'll need to check conditions then again but how are things currently?

Tried to link to the Borderland Beat link regarding Valle de Bravo currently posted in Mexico General but I can't find it.

Thanks for you input!

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WOW! Guess that decides things for now! Thank you Jim for sending this, I tried the original link but was directed to present home page and could not locate this article.

I thought things were improving. That the autodefensas made a difference and that's why they were disbanded, had done their job and were no longer needed. But things continue to spiral out of control apparently. We won't be taking any chances with our grand daughters. What a shame that wanting to see a natural wonder before it disappears could cost you your life!

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The autodefensas, to the best of my knowledge, didn't and don't operate in the State of Mexico. The autodefensas were (and to some extent still are) in the state of Michoacán, which borders the State of Mexico on the west. The autodefensas, as you mention, were disbanded (by the Federal government) PRECISELY because they were making a difference--but not for the reason you think. The Feds were losing too much money because the narcos couldn't operate with impunity in Michoacán--the autodefensas had too much influence. The Federal government disarmed and disbanded the autodefensas, inscribed many former autodefensas into the so-called Rural Army, and bingo, the government once again has control of narco business in the state. And the money keeps rolling in, to end up in government pockets. If you read the Borderland Beat article closely, you will note that the author talks about Michoacán narcos moving in to the lucrative State of Mexico business. And the money keeps rolling in...oh wait, I already said that. *sigh*

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the government once again has control of narco business in the state. And the money keeps rolling in, to end up in government pockets. If you read the Borderland Beat article closely, you will note that the author talks about Michoacán narcos moving in to the lucrative State of Mexico business. And the money keeps rolling in...oh wait, I already said that. *sigh*

ML, who really is in charge of these governments, in your opinion, the cartels, the government, or they share? TIA

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More Liana, I realize what you say here is true. I find it so disheartening and even makes me reconsider my retirement plans. I want to believe that Mexico can do better.

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ML, who really is in charge of these governments, in your opinion, the cartels, the government, or they share? TIA

IMHO, they share. Back in the olden days, when the PRI was in power for all those years, the narcos operated as assigned by the government: you get this territory, you guys get that one, and you fellows get the part over there. There wasn't so much internecine-narcoviolencia because each bunch had its plaza (territory) and most often they didn't try to beat one another out. Everybody had a big piece of the pie, and everybody 'contributed' a big share to the government--from the president right on down. During the Fox administration (and again IMHO), the narcos kept on doing what they were doing, kicking back to the government for ipso facto 'permission' to work.

When Calderón came to power, refused (at least as a facade) to cozy up to the narcos, and kicked the ant hill, as it were, things got bad. We all know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Scores of thousands dead, scores of thousands missing, and no solution in sight. The current PRI regime has simply taken up where the old PRI regime(s) left off. Everybody is hand in glove with everybody else, they're all criminals, they're all corrupt, and Mexico is in hell. The country has so many problems that there seems to be no way out.

Now, amigo Pedro Malo, where is better?

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IMHO, they share. The current PRI regime has simply taken up where the old PRI regime(s) left off. Everybody is hand in glove with everybody else, they're all criminals, they're all corrupt, and Mexico is in hell. The country has so many problems that there seems to be no way out.

Now, amigo Pedro Malo, where is better?

For better, you just have to weigh the pluses and minuses, and decide where is your best fit. No place is "perfect".

So, maybe EPN was really correct when he said that corruption was inherent in the Mexican Culture. But, mostly it has been controlled by the PRI over the years, and now they are trying to get back to that. What say you, ML?

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Everybody is hand in glove with everybody else, they're all criminals, they're all corrupt, and Mexico is in hell. The country has so many problems that there seems to be no way out.

It doesn't seem like hell here in Guadalajara to me and I doubt that it does to most Tapatios either.

Maybe it's different where you live..

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IMHO, they share. Back in the olden days, when the PRI was in power for all those years, the narcos operated as assigned by the government: you get this territory, you guys get that one, and you fellows get the part over there. There wasn't so much internecine-narcoviolencia because each bunch had its plaza (territory) and most often they didn't try to beat one another out. Everybody had a big piece of the pie, and everybody 'contributed' a big share to the government--from the president right on down. During the Fox administration (and again IMHO), the narcos kept on doing what they were doing, kicking back to the government for ipso facto 'permission' to work.

When Calderón came to power, refused (at least as a facade) to cozy up to the narcos, and kicked the ant hill, as it were, things got bad. We all know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Scores of thousands dead, scores of thousands missing, and no solution in sight. The current PRI regime has simply taken up where the old PRI regime(s) left off. Everybody is hand in glove with everybody else, they're all criminals, they're all corrupt, and Mexico is in hell. The country has so many problems that there seems to be no way out.

Now, amigo Pedro Malo, where is better?

I was raised, live and work in a small seaport town on the Puget Sound in Washington State named Port Townsend. Has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth while the sun is shining!

Most locals in PT still never lock their doors nor remove the keys from their cars. There is practically no crime there and in the 42 years I've been there, certainly no murder or kidnappings. I bought my house Lakeside just before the Narco mess exploded. Coming from that environment, it has been difficult to wrap my head around having to avoid "war zones" in Mexico. It makes for an uneasy feeling of insecurity that was unknown to me before this. I've felt relatively safe in Joco and don't mind making the sensible adjustments to my habits to make sure all is locked, for after all, there is a lot of poverty around us and robberies are to be expected. But there is always the thought and worry in the back of my mind, "when will they start targeting the gringos for kidnappings and ransoms?" Sounds like it has already started in some areas.

I love Mexico and her culture and people. The older I get, the more I'm drawn to her warmth and sunny days as well. Only get at most 2 months of them in Washington. I truly want to end my days here in Mexico, but without feeling insecure about safety. But maybe this will be the trade off. Only solution I see for improvement is for Mexico to transform it's economy and offer living wages to it's citizens. What are the chances of that happening when the US is transforming it's economic model to mirror Mexico's situation for wage earners, breaking the backs of the Unions and eroding the middle class, etc. I hate to imagine conditions in the US once they achieve this "societal re-adjustment". Probably will be safer to stay in Mexico! Guess you are right after all ML, "where is better?" or where will be better in the future to come?

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It doesn't seem like hell here in Guadalajara to me and I doubt that it does to most Tapatios either.

Maybe it's different where you live..

There are at least two differing realities in Mexico: one is how a person lives his/her daily life, and the other is the current that goes under, around, beside, and beneath one's personal reality. Most of us are only peripherally affected by the kind of reality that has transformed Mexico into the hell to which I refer. Gas prices up a few centavos a month? <shrug> Guy on the corner closed his store? <extortion> Teenage girl on the other side of town--the 'rough' side--raped by soldiers put there to safeguard her life? <yes, happens all the time--maybe not in your neighborhood, but yes> Egg prices doubled in a year? <not my problem> No limones for my Margarita? <oh well, I'll use a mix>

MANY of the effects of government corruption, narcoterrorism, and big-ticket crime are the direct result of the kinds of problems that many people prefer not to notice. These things are happening to EVERYONE who lives in Mexico and to many who live outside this country. Wake up. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. It may not seem like hell, but you're simply roasting marshmallows over the flames.

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There are at least two differing realities in Mexico: one is how a person lives his/her daily life, and the other is the current that goes under, around, beside, and beneath one's personal reality. Most of us are only peripherally affected by the kind of reality that has transformed Mexico into the hell to which I refer.

MANY of the effects of government corruption, narcoterrorism, and big-ticket crime are the direct result of the kinds of problems that many people prefer not to notice. These things are happening to EVERYONE who lives in Mexico and to many who live outside this country. Wake up. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. It may not seem like hell, but you're simply roasting marshmallows over the flames.

A sincere look at reality in Mexico. Thank you, ML !

If you have the desire to live in Mexico, you can learn to adjust (as the Mexicans do) your lifestyle and habits, and can live a good life here, with relative secure surroundings.. The more you have your eyes "open", the easier it is to make your adjustments, IMHO. I think pedro malo is one that could live "happily" in Mexico. Common sense will take a person a long way here. Good luck.

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More Liana,you made broad generalizations about Mexico that I don't happen to agree with,you have your reality and others have theirs.

I do respect your knowledge of Mexican cooking though...

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cbviajero, I can give you other 'broad generalities' about my own life in Mexico--generalities you will probably agree with. After nearly 35 years in this country, I live in a beautiful neighborhood of Mexico City, have excellent, educated, cultured friends in our building and our neighborhood and other neighborhoods in the city, am honored to have many, many other wonderful friends--from the most humble to the internationally famous--all over this country, have traveled, cooked, and eaten in 28 of Mexico's states plus the Distrito Federal, have been spoiled and treated like a queen by groups and organizations all over those states, have gone where few non-native Mexicans have gone, and believe that my life is one of extraordinary privilege, both in my friendships and in my work. I feel secure in my friendships, secure in my home, and secure in my travels.

And still, I have lived the other side of the coin and unfortunately know what I am talking about in that regard. Obviously YMMV.

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More Liana, I can remember when you've taken to task on this very board people who posted negative stuff about Mexico yet here you are really being negative and pessimistic about the same topic.

I don't get it. Did something happen to you to shift your perspective? Surely it isn't just because your side lost the last election?

If I were as gloomy about Mexico, I'd leave.

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IMHO, ML is not being negative nor pessimistic about Mexico, but just realistic. I think there is a Big difference. One can still live here and have a good life and wonderful relations with friends and people, without having to "sugar coat" things, when asked your opinion or your observations. Too often, when people are realistic about life in Mexico, many people tend to get "their panties in a wad" as they think the person is running down Mexico, or their people; but that just isn't the case, if your are just being realistic. I think ML loves Mexico, her life and friends here, and would live no other place. What is wrong with her being realistic in her response to a question about her impressions of Mexico, as she certainly has seen and heard more than most posters here?

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That's your opinion and you're welcome to it; In my opinion, her postings of late are very pessimistic and I wonder what is going on. Are things going downhill in Mexico City? It's been pretty quiet around here lately. I am concerned about this increase in kidnapping and extortion, it seems that predictions that these drug thugs would turn to other crimes as the drug market declines are coming true.

The level of civility is going south everywhere IMO. Try following the mounting stories of "knock out gangs" in the U.S.

This posting of hers is really spot on IMO.

IMHO, they share. Back in the olden days, when the PRI was in power for all those years, the narcos operated as assigned by the government: you get this territory, you guys get that one, and you fellows get the part over there. There wasn't so much internecine-narcoviolencia because each bunch had its plaza (territory) and most often they didn't try to beat one another out. Everybody had a big piece of the pie, and everybody 'contributed' a big share to the government--from the president right on down. During the Fox administration (and again IMHO), the narcos kept on doing what they were doing, kicking back to the government for ipso facto 'permission' to work.

When Calderón came to power, refused (at least as a facade) to cozy up to the narcos, and kicked the ant hill, as it were, things got bad. We all know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Scores of thousands dead, scores of thousands missing, and no solution in sight. The current PRI regime has simply taken up where the old PRI regime(s) left off. Everybody is hand in glove with everybody else, they're all criminals, they're all corrupt, and Mexico is in hell. The country has so many problems that there seems to be no way out.

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I think that for More Liana to say that "Mexico is in hell" is a gross exaggeration,you want hell on earth,you can find it in the Middle East,Africa,any of the "Stans" and other places around the world.

None of my Mexican friends or family would describe Mexico as being in hell and they're just average citizens,are there problems,of course there are,just like anywhere else.

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Are things going downhill in Mexico City?

Not that I've heard,just the opposite,their last mayor Marcelo Ebrard did an excellent job turning that city around,hopefully he'll run for president in the next election and win.

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Not that I've heard,just the opposite,their last mayor Marcelo Ebrard did an excellent job turning that city around,hopefully he'll run for president in the next election and win.

Is that the same guy Fox removed from office for not responding to a "help" call for 2 police that were murdered by vigilantes in some place outside Mexico City?

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That's your opinion and you're welcome to it; In my opinion, her postings of late are very pessimistic and I wonder what is going on. Are things going downhill in Mexico City? It's been pretty quiet around here lately. I am concerned about this increase in kidnapping and extortion, it seems that predictions that these drug thugs would turn to other crimes as the drug market declines are coming true.

The level of civility is going south everywhere IMO. Try following the mounting stories of "knock out gangs" in the U.S.

This posting of hers is really spot on IMO.

You have valid points, IMHO. Civility IS going south.

I see what she says in the other post, but I believe that is the actual "story", the way things came down. I have only lived in Mexico about 15 years, but I do have a Mexican wife with an extremely Large extended family.

Humor me....can a person (anyone) describe what they have assimilated from their experiences, especially if they are foreigners, and not be accused of trying to put Mexico in an unfavorable light, when they say things like: corruption, kidnappings, etc.,etc. is widespread, and getting worse?

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Is that the same guy Fox removed from office for not responding to a "help" call for 2 police that were murdered by vigilantes in some place outside Mexico City?

That was a purely political act on the part of Fox,he was trying to derail Ebrard's political career,it didn't work,Ebrard went on to become the best mayor that city has ever had 2006-2012,he was named (Worlds Best Mayor)in 2010.Do your homework,Jim.

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That was a purely political act on the part of Fox,he was trying to derail Ebrard's political career,it didn't work,Ebrard went on to become the best mayor that city has ever had 2006-2012,he was named (Worlds Best Mayor)in 2010.Do your homework,Jim.

That question came from my wife. I bet Fox set those police up just to get to Marcelo. My Mexican wife tells me to remind you that maybe Marcelo may not be available to run for President because of what he created with the Metro. She and her brother think that is funny.

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Interesting conversation in this thread, no? A few things to add:

  • If you re-read my post about my own life in Mexico City, it seems impossible to garner from what I wrote that things are 'getting worse' in Mexico City. Things are not getting worse here: Mexico City continues to be one of the safest places in the country.
  • Posting about lived reality is not 'negative' posting. It's simply posting about reality. Think about what it would be like to post (on some other forum) your sadness and despair about--just as an example--the actions of the police in Ferguson. As an American citizen, my heart breaks to see what happened. But would my post be negative? No, it would be a reflection of a sad reality.
  • I love Mexico with all my heart and would not live anywhere else. I CHOOSE this country, over and over, every day, in every action of my life. I CHOSE to become a Mexican citizen and love having that privilege.
  • Many foreigners (and for that matter, many Mexicans) elect not to study political actions here. Frankly, it's generally safer for your mental health to stay ignorant. The reality of learning about how political decisions are made, what effects those decisions will have on the populace, and how the tiny grain of truth is hidden among the florescence of speechmaking is depressing, infuriating, and leaves one feeling helpless. The truth is, as foreigners, you (a generic you--I am not addressing this to any particular foreigner) ARE helpless. I, as a citizen, am not helpless. Powerless, yes, but not helpless. I can campaign for whichever political candidate I think might actually make a difference. I can speak out about what I have learned about the party in power. You, on the other hand, cannot. So maybe in your case it is better to stay ignorant. But if you don't care to know the truth, don't claim that YOUR uninformed 'truth' is the only one.

Most of what newspapers publish and most of what shows up on TV news is biassed in one direction or another. You all know that. Government, by and large, manages the news in such a way that we see only the approved smoke screen, the facade of glitter that would have us believe that what's good for General Bullmoose is good for the country. The published low unemployment rate? Lies. The published inflation rate? More lies. The published benefits of Reforma Energética, Reforma Telecomunicaciones, Reforma whatever? Lies again. It all SOUNDS wonderful, but most folks are too busy putting food on the table or too complacent to dig around to find the granito, the little grain of truth, that is squirreled away somewhere among all the pretty lies.

FOR EXAMPLE: recently, Mexico City's head of government announce that he wanted to raise the minimum wage in the DF. WOW! What a great piece of news, no? It's impossible to live on even the highest minimum wage, currently set at just over 60 pesos a day. I listened intently to what Mancera said in a recent interview: the working stiff would have more income, children would have more milk/vegetables/meat, better access to education, more this, more that, better whatever. Lovely, right? And then, hidden in all the verbiage, came the truth: "Oh," said Mancera, "and by the way, of course the cost of traffic and other fines is tied to the minimum wage, as well. Which means that the government would recuperate more in fines." Aha, there it is, the granito. More money will go to the government. And get this: in addition to the cost of fines being charged to the minimum wage, the monthly cost of some government-granted mortgages is also tied to the minimum wage. The working stiff, with a government mortgage on his house, currently pays XX times the minimum wage as his monthly mortgage. That's how the mortgage is written. So under Mancera's proposal, the minimum wage goes up--and the mortgage goes up. And who gets more money? Why, the government. But what about the working stiff's kids, who are supposed to have more meat/veggies/etc? Oh well, the mortgage has to be paid or we will lose the house.

Now, let's talk about this from post #21: "Humor me....can a person (anyone) describe what they have assimilated from their experiences, especially if they are foreigners, and not be accused of trying to put Mexico in an unfavorable light, when they say things like: corruption, kidnappings, etc.,etc. is widespread, and getting worse?"

  • ​Recently the newspaper Cambio de Michoacán published a report that armed crime in Morelia was up 240% over 2012.
  • I recently spent 8 days in Morelia. No, I did not witness any armed crime. But what I did see that made a tremendous impact on me is the number of businesses that have closed. Shop after shop has a 'Se Renta' sign in the window. In one two-block stretch, I saw at least six of those signs. Why? Extortion. Business owners are threatened with physical harm if they do not pay their 'tithe' to the narcos. Friends of mine chose to close their 3 small restaurants after a knife was held to the throat of their 50+ year old cook and she was told, "Tell your boss to pay up or we will come back and kill YOU."
  • Proyecto 40, which broadcasts news, published information that extortion calls are made ONE EVERY FIVE SECONDS in Mexico. I personally have received four extortion calls, but none since we moved to Mexico City. An extortion call hotline, where you can leave information anonymously about the kind of call and the kinds of demands you have gotten, has just been set up in the DF.
  • Most newspapers nationwide no longer report narcoviolencia--bodies found, clandestine burial sites discovered, people dismembered or killed and with 'signs of torture'. (You all know what that means, right? Mutilation of sexual organs.) Those reports have all but vanished for two reasons: 1. EPN put the clamps on that kind of news, and 2. Reporters fear assassination if they make the reports. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Here's a February 2014 report from Chiapas: http://www.sinembargo.mx/11-02-2014/901259

These reports and many more like them are the sad truth about life in Mexico today. Want to ignore the truth? OK, that's your choice. But please, don't tell me that I don't love Mexico, and that the truth isn't the truth. Which of your Mexican friends trusts you enough to tell you the truth about their lives? Probably none. But I would bet real money that Jim Bowie's wife agrees with me, and that THAT'S why Jim Bowie knows the truth.

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I don't think anyone accused you of not loving Mexico, very few of us have been here that long and have small experience compared to you. It just seems that you are more pessimistic than I can ever remember seeing.

If they don't learn how to deal with extortion and kidnapping, the future is not going to be bright. As I noted earlier, there have been predictions that the drug criminals would turn to this as less money comes to them from drug sales. It appears that this is happening now.

I share your skepticism about real reform coming from the PRI.

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