Looking for People and Answers
Very interesting article from CNN.com about Shane Anderson, a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped in Mexico and lived to tell about it.
A couple of things jump out at me from the article (my observations are in bold):
"According to the Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano, a Mexico-based security and justice organization that keeps track of violent crime and kidnappings, more than 1,300 people were officially reported kidnapped in 2012. Statistics for 2013 are still being compiled, but through April of last year, 553 people were reported kidnapped.
And that's just the official statistics. Many more kidnappings are never reported."
Not only are many more kidnappings never reported, many more disappearances occur in Mexico and other areas of Latin America that have nothing to do with ransom and probably have nothing to do with cartels. When a society plunges into the kind of chaos Mexico finds itself in today, it becomes cheaper and more effective to simply "disappear" a problematic business partner, plaintiff, or spouse than to go through "proper channels," which exist in name only.
"A lot of Americans feel that when they visit Mexico for vacation or spend time working there, they are immune to the drug-related violence going on around them because they have nothing to do with it. The truth is that certain drug cartels and gangs in Mexico stopped caring long ago about staying away from Americans or innocent people in general," drug war analyst Sylvia Longmire told CNN.
Sylvia Longmire is absolutely right. Being an American means you're simply worth more or potentially a bigger nuisance; therefore, if push comes to shove, it's less complicated to kill you and toss your body somewhere it will never be found than to have you cause problems. The bad guys know something that few U.S. travelers do: The State Department is absolutely toothless when it comes to providing safety/security for its citizens abroad.