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The damaged image of Mexico

With crime running rampant in several regions of Mexico, nobody should be surprised our country is perceived as dangerous
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
11/01/2018
08:47
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Violence in Mexico cannot be hidden. We live it every day, in varying degrees depending on the state; in the main cities, people know which areas they have to stay away at night, or even during the day. Official figures confirm crime rates, especially first-degree murder, have been increasing. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 76% of Mexicans believe living in their corresponding cities is unsafe.

This situation isn't only generating negative perceptions within the country but also abroad. At the peak of the violence wave of the past administration, Mexicans traveling abroad were often asked about the insecurity situation in the country. A decade ago, Juárez City registered the highest murder rate in the world. What sort of image do we give to the world with such numbers?

For a few years, violence was able to be contained. However, yesterday the U.S. Department of State announced its travel warnings for Mexico and it's not looking good for us.

Almost half of the Mexican territory (15 out of the 32 states) received level 3 and 4 warnings, which mean “reconsider travel” and “do not travel,” accordingly. The toughest warning level, 4, was applied to the following five states: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas. This same level 4 warning is applied to countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

This is the image and perception our neighboring country has of us, and most certainly the rest of the world. A few days ago, Canada also issued travel warnings for nine Mexican states.

Should we blame the government of the United States for comparing some Mexican states with the most insecure countries in the world? The U.S. travel warnings clarify Mexico has high crime rates, unlike Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, which are countries with violent conflicts a serious risk for terrorism. Most definitely, the reasons for the warnings aren't the same, which should be of a great concern to us, to have crime in Mexico reach the heights of countries torn by war.

Insecurity and violence have taken over several regions of Mexico (very likely due to the collusion of local authorities) and there's been little progress in fighting them. Nobody should be surprised or miffed by the way Mexico is seen from the outside.

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