Archive for the ‘Michoacán’ Tag
Exactly one year ago, I wrote a post on the Michoacán coast. In this post, I extolled the wild beauty of the coast, its pristine beaches and lack of conventional tourist development. The coast has always had a reputation for danger – and it is still advisable not to travel at night – as there is a lot of narcotraficante activity in the area but generally it is believed to have got much safer in recent years.
Last summer a conflict surfaced over land between the indigenous communities of Santa María de Ostula, Coire and Pómaro and the townspeople of La Placita, around the 185 km mark on the main coastal highway. The situation rapidly became violent, tense and complicated. I wrote about this situation in my blog, but as my blog then became implicated in the conflict, I decided to withdraw the blog post, and the many comments it had generated, that related to the conflict.
One of the actions the indigenous people had taken was to block the main coast road at two strategic points heading south from La Placita. In this period of a few weeks whilst the road was blocked, two women – not Mexicans – were travelling north along the coast and suddenly, without warning, came across one of these road-blocks with armed men guarding it. Believing they were going to be robbed, they turned around and tried to escape back the way they had come from. Shots were fired at the car, aimed at the petrol tank as can be seen in the two photos, and the car was chased and eventually stopped. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt but the experience was obviously very frightening for the two women
I am writing this now to warn people that the situation in this part of the coast has become tense again. It seems two regidores (elected officials) from the indigenous communities based in the Municipality of Aquila were kidnapped last week, and I was told that it was possible the coast road could be blocked again. I was due to attend an event on the coast last Saturday but because of the difficulties the event was postponed.
Whilst I don’t like to feed the idea that Mexico is a difficult, dangerous, violent place, it is best not to travel in this area whilst this situation persists and if you are have to travel along the coast take extreme care.
When I have more information, I will update this further.
UPDATE: I WROTE THIS POST IN MAY 2009. SINCE LATE JUNE 2009, THERE HAS BEEN MUCH TENSION IN THE AREA JUST SOUTH OF LA PLACITA BEFORE REACHING LA FARO AND LA TICLA, WHICH AS OF WRITING THIS UPDATE IN MID SEPTEMBER 2009 HAS LESSENED. I WOULD HOWEVER RECOMMEND THAT ANYONE WANTING TO TRAVEL ALONG THE COAST CHECKS THAT THE AREA IS SAFE.
Last night I went see the film “Amar a Morir” (loosely translated as love until death). Having suffered from all the cinemas in Mexico being closed for ten days or so in early May, because of the flu pandemic, and losing an estimated one million dollars, this film is now one of the top five earning films in Mexico, and the highest earning Mexican film. Continue reading
Given the current context of life in Mexico – especially the sometimes exaggerated and sensationalist way events here get reported in the foreign media, (fear and panic about the swine flu pandemic preceded by bloody accounts of violent confrontations in the so-called ‘drug wars’) – it might seem strange at first sight to be writing a post with this title. Perhaps, however, it is important to offer a different view of this rich, complex country.
My first visit to Mexico was at New Year 2003 for a few days in Puerto Vallerta to see my son who was spending part of his gap year there. My second visit to Mexico was for two weeks in August 2003. In those two weeks, I fell in love with a Mexican women with three daughters living in Guadalajara, and was offered a job at the regional campus of the University of Guadalajara in Ciudad Guzmán.
For the following year, I came and went between Mexico and England, taking classes in Spanish, and trying to secure the job offer that had been made to me. Eventually, it took two years to secure a contract of one year. In September 2004, I left England and moved to Mexico with the intention of making my life there. This intention has persisted, though my relationship with the Mexican woman I fell in love with has changed from partners to friends.
I liked Mexico very much initially. I had always wanted to live in a non-western, ‘different’ culture and Mexico fit the bill perfectly. Continue reading