Friday, July 12, 2013
Safety in Mexico: A Testimonial
Today, I wanted to share a testimonial of William Chaney, who retired with his wife to Mexico after 44 years of working on the food industry. He wrote his own view on safety in Mexico:
"Is Mexico safe? The short answer is yes.
Mexico is host to about 2 million retired Americans, as well as a great number of Canadians and people from other countries. Some have lived here for years and every year, there are new ones arriving.
People routinely ask about the violence that they see in the newspapers and TV at home. This violence happens mostly due to wars between cartels and it's focused mostly in towns near the border. Sometimes there is violence in areas where the drug is manufactured, grown, or transported. Almost all of the killings happen to people involved in the drug business; people who grow, transport, sell, buy or manufacture drugs. There is no violence in the retirement communities.
Obviously, if you're coming to Mexico to find drugs easily, then you're pretty much putting yourself in danger.
Regarding other types of violence, Mexico is as safe as any country. There is the occasional robbery and the break-in, and yes, a foreigner will be involved once in a while, but no more than in any other part in the world. However, when it happens, it makes headlines in the country of origin of the foreigner, and if that's the only news you have about everyday Mexico, then you're going to get an exaggerated idea of how unsafe Mexico is. I have been traveling to Mexico for 20 years and I have never heard any problems between retirees and locals that ended up in violence.
Mexico is a very safe place to retire, and I would say even safer than other retiring places int he world. The Mexican government has an interest in making retirement and tourism safe. There's always a strong police presence, which is there to make sure that areas where foreigners or retired are are safe. After all, tourism and retirees' spending constitute Mexico's second source of income, behind oil exports.
Remember that, just like anywhere else, you have to do your part. Respect the culture and costumes of the people of Mexico. You are the guest in their country. Research and obey the laws and the manners of Mexico, which can be very different from the ones where you came from. Mexico has a slower pace than most Western countries. Just go with the flow and enjoy it. Mexicans, despite the ridiculous stereotype, are very hard working and they too dream of retiring and enjoy their last years. When you get to know them and adapt to them, your time in Mexico might become the best years of your life.
Living in Mexico is about 30% cheaper than in the States. However, those who have the means can get themselves a penthouse with ocean view, a maid and a chef. I strongly advice against this, as you'd be missing on the amazing local customs and the warmth of Mexicans."
You can read William's Blog here.