warning for Michoacan (Mexico) for december 2010
On the afternoon of 12/09/10 we returned to Angangueo (state of Michoacan) from a trip to the „Santuario Mariposa Monarca“ (Monarch Butterfly Reserve). The normally rather busy small town was deserted. All business was closed. Very few people & cars on the street.
First we thought, it had something to do with the fiesta week for the virgin of Guadalupe.
Next day everythink seemed to be back to normality, until the guy from the tourist info took as aside and told us, that the day before several people had been shot in the state of Michoacon. In 11 cities they blocked roads with busses and trucks and burned them. Sounded like riots, but he´s English was not good enough to get it more precise. All of that seemed to be related to former flyers of „criminal organisations“, in which they listed various threads they would realise from 1st of December to the 1st of January. The closure of all business etc. was a result of, what happend in other cities.
The tourist office guy was really worried and adviced us, we should leave the state immediatly. The change of behaviour compared to two days before, when he praised various locations in the state was significant!
To point this out: it´s only a problem for Michoacan and as it seems for December (so far).
To put things in a perspective: I think, Mexico is a pretty safe place in general. All the talk about the increased danger in Mexico is exaggerated and irrelevant for mc-travellers, since it is mostly related to the drug-war, which rarely affects travellers. Just follow common sence rules, which apply everywhere in poor countries and avoid to get into the way of the drug guys: means e.g.: don´t stop or even take fotos of marihuana plantations if you stumble in one and be very careful, where you camp in remote areas. The place might be close to a drug-smuggling track and these gangs might have a radical way of coping with potential witnesses!
As I said before: in general I think Mexico is a safe enough place. Haven´t had any trouble in six weeks now!
CU on the road
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