The Ugly Side of Mexico

Correction: sides*


All the time I hear people saying how much of a heaven Mexico is. Both people who stayed at a luxury resort in the not-so-Mexican Cancun/Tulum/Playa del Carmen and people who traveled around in the south and payed a visit to the oh so loud capital; Mexico City.

The truth is that everyone who travels to this country or lives there as an expat for not such a long time, falls head over heels in love, recommends this country to their friends and family claiming it to be paradise.

 

Look, you are allowed to be in love with Mexico (I am too) and you are allowed to recommend this place to your relatives but saying that Mexico is heaven… well, that’s wrong.

 

Mexico is no heaven. In fact, Mexico is everything but heaven. Even Belgium is more of a heaven than Mexico is!

What Mexico is, is a tourist heaven.

 

A tourist heaven.

 

Right.

 

…Because the only people who are truly in love with this country are tourists.

 

A big part of the world’s population believes that if you will travel to Mexico, it’ll be your death. That’s wrong, that’s exaggerated. As a tourist you’re safe, as long as you stay in the right states and don’t do anything stupid (you know what I mean).

This, however, is no reason to call the country heaven. I can’t even believe this myself but I’ve met travelers here in Mexico (in the south) who told me that the country is totally safe, that nothing happens, that the media exaggerates like crazy, bla bla bla.

 

Okay, the media exaggerates, that’s a fact. But they don’t just invent things?!

 

When I hear people saying things like that, I wonder if they actually did at least a bit of research about the country before they came here?

Didn’t they hear about the 42 students who disappeared in Guerrero? Come on, even I heard about that and I lived in f*cking Belgium and don’t even check the news often.

 

Don’t they know that every single day, hundreds of Mexicans (and other people from Central American countries) try to cross the border to the States? Their trip to get there though, is extremely hard, many of those people die or even worse; get captured by cartels. And when they manage to cross the border, they run a huge risk to get deported, if not, then they have to work their *ss off. They’re not happy there, they just go there because they have no other choice…

 

And don’t they see the amount of homeless people on the streets in Mexico City? Including old people? Old people the age of our grandparents… can you imagine your grandparents living like this? Begging on the streets because they literally don’t have anything? And there’s no system whatsoever that can take care of them…

 

Do you know Iztapalapa? Probably not. Well, it’s one of the districts of Mexico City. It’s very poor and there’s a lack of water. Always.

 

And what about the (child) sex trade happening on a large scale? Especially in the very famous southern state of Chiapas, where backpacker’s heaven San Cristobal de las Casas is located. Hey, when you claim to love San Cris so much, you probably already knew about that, right? (sadly the answer is almost always NO)

 

And what about the violent cartels that kill, torture and tear innocent families apart…?

 

And the Indian children who have to walk the streets every single day, all day long, to sell things. They don’t get any education and they have to sell everything, otherwise they’re in trouble.

 

Those southern states, Chiapas and Oaxaca, are also extremely poor. Many people live on less than €1,5 per day. Yes, Mexico is cheap, but it’s not that cheap, you need at least €10 to survive.

Not just poor people have a hard life but if you’re higher middle class or very rich, your life isn’t easy either. There are always criminal organizations looking out for you. Rich people can get calls of criminals saying that they will kidnap their child if they don’t give them a certain amount of money and the (higher) middle class people can easily get victim of burglaries (I heard both stories from people I personally know). A good (middle class) friend of mine, who lives in a rather violent state, is always scared that something might happen to his family – how can you call this heaven?

 

And I can go on and on and on and there are many things I don’t know (and maybe don’t want to know) but the thing that you could do is at least inform yourself before you visit a country. Just so you know what’s up.

And don’t forget to call Mexico a “tourist heaven” instead of an actual heaven. “Tourist heaven” sounds a lot more respectful…. and realistic.

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