Mexico Maligned

THE MEDIA’S MYOPIA

If you look up myopia in thefreedictionary.com you will find it defined as ” . . .a visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred because their images are focusedMyopia in front of the retina rather than on it; nearsightedness.”   What you won’t find there, but probably should, are pictures of almost every major U.S. cable and broadcast news network.

Most of us have long since figured out that the 24-hour news cycle demands a relentless stream of drama-dripping, nerve-jangling “Breaking News” alerts every half-hour. God forbid eyeballs should be allowed to wander.  That reality is unfortunate on a number of levels but nowhere more so than here where an entire noble nation is callously maligned.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that the media “has it in for Mexico”.  Not at all.  This is not another rant against media bias.  What I do maintain, however, is that in their insatiable thirst for the salacious, Mexico and its 112 million proud people are in the minds of the media — assuming they bother to think about such things at all – unfortunate collateral damage.  Just like the definition above, the media’s image of Mexico is blurred precisely because their focus is on one relatively small, admittedly ugly reality and thus falls woefully short of the retina of responsible reportage.

As an unrepentant lover of Mexico, I confess it is hard not to take this personally  What if day after day you had to read gross exaggerations, half-truths and outright, and often outrageous, lies about someone you cherished?  You don’t need to respond to my rhetorical question because we both know that it would make your blood boil.  So imagine how I feel, laboring away in the vineyards of travel and being subjected to a flood of negative news reports about Mexico, a country of incredible beauty, rich history and some of the finest people God ever planted on this planet.

THE THREE METRICS THAT MATTER  

Let’s turn our attention to three practical metrics you can use for measuring the safety of Mexico.

Metric One:  Geography

Allow me to share a couple of realities that seldom get mentioned by the media.  The first is the fact that the vast majority of the security problems in Mexico are restricted to towns along the border and a few other scattered sites.  It is worth noting that Mexico has over 2500 municipalities and security problems have been concentrated in just 18 of them.  You probably won’t run across this embarrassing little jewel either, embarrassing to the US that is.  It almost makes you question the wisdom of staying at home!

The second fact rarely discussed is the immense size of Mexico (roughly the size of Western Europe) and the distances between historical hot spots and resort cities. Take a look at the map below. You may be surprised to discover that it is roughly 1000 miles from Juarez to Cancun and almost 800 miles from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  The white line is meant to suggest how head-scratchingly strange we here in the US would find it if a potential visitor from a foreign country shared with us that he was apprehensive about visiting San Diego because he had heard of a recent ugly incident in New Orleans.

Map of Mexico

Map showing relative distances in Mexico

Metric Two:  Statistics

Here are a few interesting facts you probably have not heard in the media:

1)     The Mexican Ministry of Tourism revealed that 2011 was a record-breaking year for tourism with. 23.4 million international travelers visiting Mexico in 2011.

2)     The Mexican Ministry of Tourism announced that 4.99 million international tourists visited Mexico between January-April 2012, representing an increase of 5.3 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

3)     Mexico is currently rated 10th in the world rankings for most international visitors and has publicly set a goal to be in the top 5 by 2018.

4)     There are currently no US travel advisories in place for popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum, the Riviera Nayarit, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and San Miguel de Allende, Leon or even Mexico City.

Metric Three:  Experience

If you were to ask me the number one reason I believe Mexico is safe I would say it is based on my own personal experience.  I have been traveling there for over 25 years, multiple times many years, without ever once being threatened or harassed.   My story is but one of millions as the statistics above corroborate.

If you would like to hear some real stories from real people talking about the real Mexico, just visit the Mexico Taxi Project.  These are unscripted comments from consumers just like you on their way home from the airport upon returning to the US.   OK, there may be a couple of folks in those clips still feeling the negative effects of over-indulgence but hey, hangovers don’t reach the threat threshold set for this blog post.

Teatro Juaürez in Guanajuato City, Mexico

Teatro Juaürez in Guanajuato City

SUMMARY

I hope I have demonstrated that striking Mexico off your list of vacation destinations based solely on money driven media reports is, dare I say it, illogical, irrational and well . . myopic.  The real shame is that you are depriving yourself of one of the most value centered travel experiences available anywhere in the world.  Mexico has world-class hotels, incredible dining, exciting activities and rich traditions all tendered to the world by humble masters of unparalleled service.

Unfortunately, this humble blogger doesn’t have a prayer by himself of making the least dint in the news coverage of Mexico.  Unbowed and undeterred, however, I shall keep on lending my own voice to many others crying in the wilderness.  I shall attend Mexico, I shall defend Mexico, I shall recommend Mexico!  My only hope is that your decision, fellow traveler, when it is made, will be based on a basic grasp of geography, a familiarity with a few simple statistics and a confident reliance on the consistent testimony of a legion of travelers to Mexico with irrefutable firsthand knowledge.

Whatever you eventually decide, I will fully respect your decision. But please,and again I say please, don’t let a myopic media’s thirst for mayhem rob you of experiencing one of the world’s great treasures. Take if from one who knows, you will be the poorer for it.

If you love Mexico as much as I do, would you consider sharing this post with you own circle of influence using the social media links provided below?

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145 thoughts on “Mexico Maligned

  1. Pingback: Terror in Mexico – The Truth

  2. Pingback: Terror in Mexico – The Truth | Must Travel

    • Awesome article …… thank you very much for open the eyes of the media believers …… we need more people like you to express the true Mexico

      • Tavo,

        The pleasure is all mine. (See my reply to afish25) This blog has a number of different posts about Mexico, one of my favorite destinations. Feel free to visit often.

        Warm Regards,
        Terry

  3. Hi Terry, thanks very much for writing this excellent article. We need more voices like yours out there to educate people that we can’t always rely on what the media tells us. I’m an American living in Cancun, Mexico and I enjoy sharing my experiences with family and friends so that they’ll see what a wonderful country Mexico is and all that it has to offer as a travel destination. And most importantly, that it is safe. I’m sharing your post right now on my social networks. Saludos!

    • You are most welcome. I think Mexico is one of the most misunderstood and under appreciated countries by many Americans (not all by any means, thank goodness). I am pleased to present a more balanced view when I have the opportunity.

  4. WOW! If only our news reporters would love Mexico like you do! The worst advirtisers for Mexico are Mexican news reporters, not only the Americans. Thank you, Terry! If you ever come to the Yucatan, I would love to meet you in Merida. Where by the way, almost 15,000 retired Americans and a bigger number of Canadians are part of our normal community.

  5. Pingback: Is Mexico safe for travel? Yes, depending on your destination. - Page 47 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  6. Muchas gracias, como mexicana sin duda estoy orgullosa de mi país y mi gente, agradezco que un gabacho nos trate de hacer justicia, hablando de frente y claro de lo que estamos hechos los mexicanos. Nuestro hermoso país, lleno de colorido, mares, montañas, desciertos, ríos, costumbres y tradiciones únicas, con una deliciosa variedad de alimentos y especialidades por Estados. Nuestra música, nuestro folklor en fin, México los espera con los brazos bien abiertos como lo ha hecho por cientos de años atrás. No se dejen apantallar por las noticias mal infundadas. Como todo gran país, tenemos grandes problemas y uno de ellos es el de la envidia. Solo visitados y siente MÉXICO EN LA PIEL!!!

  7. Pingback: A stategy to improve perceptions of safety in Mexico - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  8. As a proud mexican, I really have to thank you for that article. There is no bette word than “myopia” to describe what media is doing to this amazing country. We really need more people like you, even among mexicans, because not only the media affects us, but ourselves too. I hope this article reaches every corner in the world. Thank you again for these beautiful words. You will always be welcome in Mexico.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Jorge. I am trying to do my little part. You can do the same by sharing this blog post with your friends and co-workers. I am curious where you found this post. I have had a very recent spike in views and it appears someone shared it through Facebook. Do you mind telling me where you saw it?

    • Skip,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Your guest house is beautiful. If I find myself in the area, I will definitely avail myself of your generous offer. Come back often!

      Warm regards,
      Terry

    • Tom,

      Thanks so much for sharing my post. It has generated a lot of views. Is the page you are referring to called “Expats Living In Mexico’? I have just requested permission to join the group. I hope to hear back soon.

      I have a number of other posts on my blog about Mexico including a series called “Creme de Mexico” that features the top resorts in Los Cabos, Cancun and Riviera Maya with several more resort destinations to come.

      Warm regards,
      Terry

    • Improving the image of Mexico in the US Press and among consumers is a passion of mine. This post explains my strategy: If You Love Mexico, Read And SHARE – http://wp.me/p2vQmR-bt My post “Mexico Maligned” has been viewed almost 13,000 times! Thanks for sharing both the post and my passion.

      Best regards,
      Terry

  9. Wendy in Ajijic, looking out over the beautiful Lake Chapala, with thousands of my expat friends. I saw your post on Expats Living in Mexico and will share it on my page, Chapala Home Sales. Always looking for articles like this that tell the truth. Keep up the good work!

    • Wendy,

      Thanks so much for sharing my post. It has generated a lot of interest. If you peruse my blog a bit, you will see many other posts treating Mexico. When you have time, check it out. You might particularly like my “Creme de Mexico” series.

      Best,
      Terry

    • Paul,

      Thanks so much for stopping by again. Your personal experience mirrors that of myriads of others. Check out some of my other posts on Mexico.

      Warm regards,
      Terry

  10. Here it is almost half way through 2014 and I’m just reading this blogpost. It is fantastic — your post reflects my own experience exactly and you have expressed it in a way that I couldn’t. Thank you so much. I’ll look forward to reading more from you. Maria Lee

    • Thanks Maria!

      I have written a number of posts about Mexico that you might enjoy reading. I am doing a series I call “Creme de Mexico” that lists the top resorts in several resort destinations. I have done posts on Los Cabos, Cancun and Riviera Maya so far. You can find every post I have ever written under the “What Did I Miss” tab on the top rail of my blog.

      Warm regards,
      Terry

  11. Thank you Terry! I completely concur. I’ve been travelling in Mexico for the past 41 years and have had nothing but wonderful experiences. I’ve also lived in Mexico twice and have always been treated with kindness and respect. I love Mexico and I too will continue to ‘attend’, ‘defend’ and ‘recommend’ it. Mexico and it’s people….lindo y querido.

    • Thank you, Marcia! I do believe that the vast majority of the Mexican people are some of the most considerate and gracious people on the face of the earth! If you feel so inclined, feel free to share my posts on your social media.

      Warm regards,
      Terry

  12. Terry I just shared this article with my friends and all of the comments coming back are positive. Thanks for going through the work needed to prepare this piece.
    I have lived and worked in Mexico for the last 9 years and absolutely love it. We are in extreme Northwest Sonora in Puerto Peñasco. I work in tourism and as a tour guide for those Americans and Canadians who are fortunate enough to get down here in the winter. Keep up the good work….Russ

  13. Reblogged this on terrylturrell and commented:
    This article states my sentiments exactly: “Unbowed and undeterred, however, I shall keep on lending my own voice to many others crying in the wilderness. I shall attend Mexico, I shall defend Mexico, I shall recommend Mexico!”

    • Gotta love your first name!Thanks for the comment, reblog and for following. Visit the “What Did I Miss” section of my blog to find many other posts on Mexico.

      Warm regards,
      Terry

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