I had been wondering what to include as my first post here, when in the course of investigating how to set up a blog which involved looking at other blogs written in English about Mexico (the best of which I have found so far are included in my blogroll), I came across an interesting story.
Two days ago, whilst having the radio on in the background, I thought I heard a story about an American expert in kidnapping being kidnapped in the state of Coahuila, whilst giving a series of lectures on the theme of public security and kidnapping. As I was not paying particular attention to the radio, and as it was in Spanish, I was not sure if I had understood the story properly.
But today I was delighted to come across the same story written by Jeremy Schwartz on Uncovering Mexico.
Here are some of the key excerpts from the story as recounted by Jeremy Schwartz:
“He was in town to share strategies to keep businessmen and public officials from getting kidnapped in northern Mexico. But at lunch in a Saltillo restaurant last week, Felix Batista himself was apparently kidnapped by an armed group, according to a front page story in this morning’s Reforma newspaper.
Batista, who is based in Miami, is a renowned kidnapping and security expert who is credited with resolving more than 100 kidnapping cases.”
With its combination of black humour, irony and surrealism, this seemed a typical, extraordinary Mexican story. Rather like cobblers children (who are said to always have bad shoes), we now have the kidnapping expert who has been kidnapped.
However, present in the story, beyond its immediate black humour, is also the sense of insecurity and threat. This has become increasingly prevalent in some areas of Mexico, especially the cities and states along the frontier with the US, as the drug cartels battle, on the one hand, with each other for control of the key smuggling routes into the US, and, on the other, with the military who, since December 2006, have been ordered by President Felipe Calderón into the fight against the drugs trade. (Follow the link here for an excellent and informative recent article about this by Ed Vulliamy in the English newspaper the Observer.)
As Jeremy Schwartz concludes:
“If Batista was indeed kidnapped by Mexican cartels, it would seem to be yet another attempt to convince the Mexican public and authorities of just how far their reach extends.
Thankfully, however, the region where I live in Mexico is (touch wood) generally free of these problems. Whenever I tell a taxi driver in whatever part of Mexico that I live in Ciudad Guzman, the response is almost inevitably that it is a “ciudad tranquila”.