Looking for People and Answers
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Mexico's Tourism Secretary Gloria Guevara argues that all of Mexico should not be tarred with the same brush in the area of safety.
"Mexico has 2,500 counties," Guevara said. "Eighty of those have issues. So does that mean that the entire country has issues? Of course not. Eighty of 2,500 is less than 5 percent. Ninety percent of Americans go to six destinations. The tourist destinations are very far from where we have these issues."
The tourism secretary makes and excellent point and correctly points out that State Department communications "are very general. They are not very specific and they create confusion." State is not very good at communicating, as any of our families of missing persons can attest.
A point the secretary neglects to discuss (and understandably so) is the question of how cases of missing or murdered tourists and ex-pats are handled when they do occur.Our families understand very well that terrible things happen everywhere; where Third World destinations like Mexico fall down is on the investigative, search-rescue, and legal infrastructure.When someone vanishes or is murdered in Latin America or the Caribbean, their families' losses are compounded by authorities who blame the victim, are often corrupt, and who are largely not accountable. There is no incentive to solve the case of a missing or murdered gringo, unless the gringo's family happens to be able to garner sufficient media coverage and public outrage to force U.S. officials to act on their behalf.
It may be unfair to judge an entire country by events that occur in 5% of the land; but these countries could benefit themselves by doing everything they can to clean up the dirty 5%. When tourism takes a hit, the government should spend more effort fixing the problem than the perception.