La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Free armed tour of Nuevo Laredo, anyone?

According to La Jornada:
"Es un intento de rescatar la mala imagen (sic) que tenemos y darle un empuje a los restaurantes y mercados de artesanías, donde el comercio es casi nulo", señaló ayer el director de Turismo de Nuevo Laredo, Ramón Garza.

El consejo turístico de la ciudad, vecina de Laredo, Texas, está enviando autobuses a recoger turistas a San Antonio para visitas de un día escoltados por guías y policías en motocicleta.

El servicio, que se ofrece tres veces por semana, comenzó a mediados de agosto y ocurre luego de que más de 115 personas han sido asesinadas este año en Nuevo Laredo en medio de una batalla entre bandas de la droga por el control del tráfico de cocaína, mariguana y heroína.

Rough/sloppy translation:
"It's an attempt to save the bad imagen that we have and give a boost to the restaurants and artesan markets, where commnonexistentost nonexistdirectorid the direcotr of Turismos de NL, Ramon Garza.

"The tourism board of the city, neighboring Laredo, Texas, is sending buses to San Antonio to pick up tourists for day visits escorted by guides and police on motorcycles.

"The service, which is offered three times a week, began in the middle of August and occurred after more than 115 people have been murdered this year in Nuevo Laredo in the midst of a battle between drug gangs for control of the traffic of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin

Given that many of the deaths in N.L. occurred due to gunfights between police and drug dealers and that some police have been implicated in some of the drug-running, I'm not sure I'd feel that much safer on my day-trip to the artisan market with the police. If they are the targets, why would I want to be near them? And hanging out with a bunch of obviously American gringos on a big bus (with all of their oversized Sombrero purchases)? Will that make me safer? Hmmmm. I doubt it, though the naive may feel safer.

During the day, you're probably o.k. crossing the border for a little light shopping in the big markets. At night, I wouldn't go within 100 yards of a bar or nightclub, with or accompaniment accompaniament. But come to think of it, I probably wouldn't be found near a N.L. nightclub even if it were the safest city in Mexico.

posted by Michelle @ 3:04 PM,


At 8/26/2005 8:05 PM, Blogger C. Conway said...

This is crazy. Is N.L. a big tourist spot for Americans in the first place? When I spent extended periods of time in El Paso, it seemed like it was mostly Mexican, Mexican-American and local Anglos who crossed the border to hang out. I don't know what N.L. is like.

At 8/27/2005 8:49 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Texans from Central and Coastal Texas do visit N.L. to go shopping, but I'd bet the buses from S.A. are filled with Mexicans living in S.A. or Mexican-Americans who want to go to N.L. to shop for odds & ends. (Wedding dress material and lace are things I remember friends going to N.L. for.) But you're right, most border traffic is probably local residents crossing to do regular shopping.


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