Some MORE FACTS to ponder!
Some time ago I published an article on Mexico Travel Safety Facts, which you can view in its entirety (by clicking here). In recent months the debate about violence in Mexico has heated up significantly. Most news channels and newspapers have been giving a broad coverage on the acts resulting in violent deaths, which are usually focused on the issue of combating organized crime.
When it comes to human lives, it is always difficult to speak coldly about figures. But when we need to know what really is going on, in terms of crime, we can do little more than to refer to them. The indicator that measures the violence in a country is the number of violent deaths per 100,000 people. It has the advantage of allowing comparisons among countries’ figures with different population sizes, and it is highly reliable since in all countries it is necessary to produce death certificates to account for a death caused for any reason whatsoever. Therefore, in the case of violent deaths, there is no possibility that this indicator unlike others, could observe significant levels of sub reporting, given that violent deaths are registered by law in all countries.
Some Interesting Facts To Ponder
According to available indicators, Mexico as a country has a general level of 13.3 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, making it one of the safest countries in Latin America. Levels in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela surprised us since they are as high as 16.8, 36.7 and 44.9 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively. Brazil and Venezuela are two and almost three times more violent than Mexico, respectively.
Moreover, if we compare this indicator with some U.S. cities we will see that our country is much better when comparing Mexico problem areas to say Washington DC, New Orleans or Detroit the difference is very big, where violence is a tangible problem in those cities. However, without going too far, Mexico City has 9.8 violent deaths per 100,000 people, far below that of some U.S. major cities like Houston, with 12.5, Phoenix, with 12.6, and Los Angeles, boasting a whopping 17.1. While certainly it is true that there is a big problem in Ciudad Juarez and three other municipalities, (that are mostly areas which are near or buffer the U.S-Mexican border), which altogether sum up to more than 50% of all violent deaths in Mexico. The rest of the 2,396 municipalities which form the country have relatively low violence levels, but yet get caught in the news media suffrage; Is that Fair, or Unfair? Similarly as some of our own U.S. cities are victims of drug and gang related violent deaths you don’t see any slow down in Cruise Ship’s in and out of Los Angeles, or Miami do you?
Fact, Media Services make money in short by getting the public to view their content, not because they report objectively. While there are many of us that would really believe that like the physician’s “Hippocratic oath”, that every reporter adhere’s to some level of objectivity creed that runs in their veins. Sadly the public has become mesmerized by these reports, while media services have been the profiteers at Mexico’s expense!! Fair or Unfair?
According to figures provided by the Mexican Government, the battle against organized crime has caused 24,826 violent deaths in the last four years. As it is continuously said, inside and outside the country, it has turned Mexico into an extremely dangerous country to live. A country that sadly some have said is in “civil war” and that is a “failed state.” These are certainly not true commentaries.
Although a number like 24,826 seems pretty high, it is time to put it in context. This number represents a little over 6,000 deaths per year on average. Each year, 20,000 people die in Mexico in road accidents and more than 50,000 because of diabetes. If we look at violent deaths to compare, in the U.S. 6,000 veterans commit suicide every year. So, during the same period, the same amount of persons have died as a consequence of the U.S. post-war trauma, as have died due to the war on drugs in Mexico.
Please do not misunderstand. We are not in any way trying to project anything less than drug related deaths that take plance anywhere in the world is anything other than a tragic state of society. But we are saying that we should be mindful that such problems exist throughout much of our world today, many times as bad or even worse than is happening within Mexico at present.
What is the result of the Media Frenzy?
While there is some exposure about violence within our own country by the U.S. media, it does not begin to reach the same reporting exposure levels as in the case with Mexico. Why such a double standard of reporting? Here we are in a frenzy of daily information that the only thing that portraits is the presence of violence. Our conversations with family, friends, at office, in restaurants, are often about violence. We enroll ourselves and others, (including foreigners), in the idea that violence in Mexico has reached unsuspected levels, while there is little real evidence to support such a position. It is only our own perception, based primarily on what we are reading and being told by the media. We find ourselves filtering and searching all events and news, looking for those that speak of violence. Many times it is such news which we speak about. But remember, that it is a conversation, just a conversation.
This free flowing stream of conversation has affected the levels of tourism, investment, and economic prospects for the country of Mexico, and it is not supported by real figures, data and facts, but merely a perception. The good news is that we have the power to change that perception. It only needs a person to take a look at the data and facts. Another article I recently posted, addressed the unfair tactics which some cruise ship lines have implemented with regards to the closing of some of its Mexican port service due to so-called drug related violence, (which in turn), has prompted many of the locals to speak out. You can view the article along with a video of some former US citizens, now residing in Mazatlan who speak frankly and openly with regards to their city (by clicking here).
I am just one person, What Can I Do!
Ultimately, the best way to combat violence is to leave behind the fear that generates in ourselves, and to do something that makes us feel safe. We have to realize that by enrolling ourselves and others in a violence conversation we can easily end up being frightfully paralyzed. Don’t allow yourself to be caught-up in promoting such bits and pieces of misrepresented media exposure that have had such a devastating impact on our neighbors to the south. Be willing to speak up and say to others that are less informed, that you understand that such reports are intended to sell papers and wire services and not to fairly and objectively report the news. The power of the word is a mighty thing, that up to now, has been used (at least in the opinion of this writer) unfairly against a people (who while are both warm and hospitable by nature), are unable to make it stop! What would be possible if we focus on facts and data to make us and others see that we can be responsible for creating an environment to grow and prosper instead of creating a violent space with our everyday conversations? You as a person of one, have such a power. Do it for North America and in the end you will be doing something positive for yourself and for others as well.
For more information on Cruising and Travel to Mexico, contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . To “Join” our Travel Club go to http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . Follow Mike’s blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also edits his own twice daily e-newspaper called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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