May 21, 2011 – Well today is the day the world is supposed to end (according to some folks), but that did not stop the Canadian Government from issuing another travel advisory regarding Mexico.
“OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to the border areas between Mexico and the United States, due to continuously high levels of violence linked to drug trafficking in those areas.” updated May 20, 2011.
I guess they really did not want those trying to knock items off their bucket list to do so in Mexico (That was meant to be funny). This may be only a coincidence. Yesterday I met with our MP (Member of Parliament) to discuss the Canadian Government Travel Advisory and bring awareness to what is actually happening on the ground. The Government MP and her assistant were good listeners and asked me to put our positive experiences on Baja Mexico in writing. I informed her that the travel advisory was akin to “fear mongering” and the resulting “media campaign” was unfair and hurtful to the entire tourism industry on Baja and in Mexico, and not very respectful to our NAFTA partner for sure. The MP did provide me with an untitled single page 11 point statement which laid out the rational for the travel advisory. I suspect this “Briefing Note” may have been generated by staff in Foreign Affairs.
Lets look at only “Point 5: …112 Canadians have been killed in Mexico since the crack down on gangs in 2006.” Wow, I must say that sounds bad! I had no idea that 112 Canadians have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, killed sounds like murdered to me eh! Wait a minute,I just checked the web and guess what I found.
“According to Foreign Affairs Canada, 112 Canadians have been killed in accidents, murders, drownings or suicides since Mexico started an aggressive war against it’s various drug cartels in Feb. 2006. From that number, 15 Canadians were murdered or died in suspicious deaths.”
Hmm, I was born at night but not last night, sounds like someone has an agenda here. Some might characterize the Point 5 statement as sensationalizing, perhaps even intellectually dishonest. I have reviewed and Googled all the 11 points, believe me when I say a theme emerges.
Incidentally one of the 15 was Bouabal Bounthavorn Ingo, 29, a Laos-born Canadian from Burnaby, who was gunned down in May 2008 while staying at Hotel Riu Santa Fe in Cabo San Lucas. Police believe the alleged assailants under arrest (an American & Mexican) entered Bounthavorn’s room after knocking on an adjoining door and claiming to be from the hotel. They used a 9-mm handgun in the attack and shot him in the head 3 times (Sounds more like an execution to me). The police said the two men had been allegedly scouting Bounthavorn because he appeared to have a lot of money. The police said they were allegedly looking for money and drugs. Clearly this murder could have happened anywhere in Canada or the US given the circumstances.
Hey, since we are talking about murders and numbers, here’s one, how about 127?
“Fact: 127 murders in Metro Vancouver from January 2009 to April 1, 2011”
Maybe Mexico should issue a travel advisory about Metro-Vancouver?