It is a tragedy when any person, be it man, woman, or child dies, especially in a foreign country, but we’re not here to talk about just any man, woman, or child in just any country around the globe; we’re here to talk about Americans dying in Mexico, specifically Americans who have died of unnatural causes between the years of 2004 and 2008.
As if Mexico hasn’t received enough damning media attention lately, recent media spun spotlights shine us as a country which slaughters innocent American citizens on a daily basis.
According to a Houston Chronicle investigation:
More than 200 U.S. citizens have been slain in Mexico’s escalating wave of violence since 2004 — an average of nearly one killing a week. More U.S. citizens suffered unnatural deaths in Mexico than in any other foreign country — excluding military killed in combat zones —from 2004 to 2007, State Department statistics show. Rarely are the killers captured.
First, let’s talk about unnatural deaths; what exactly is an unnatural death? An unnatural death, according to dictionary.com, is any death that is not natural, that’s easy enough, right? I’d say it’s pretty self explanatory, but if you have doubts, here is the definition, word for word:
Natural death is death that occurs from natural causes, as disease or old age, rather than from violence or an accident.
We know what violent death is, especially in Mexico. Over 6000 examples of violent deaths by mutilation, torture, decapitation, gutting, and dozens of AR-15 rounds passing through one’s body have been reported in 2008 alone.
Again, let’s go back to unnatural death. According to Wikipedia.com examples of unnatural death are: accident, execution, homicide, misadventure, suicide, terrorism, war casuality, adverse outcome of surgery and/ or being attacked by insects, reptile, fish, lions, tigers, bears, stingray, or other wild animal.
In other words, one can technically die an unnatural death by choking on a peanut, a traffic accident, being attacked by bees, or an adverse reaction to liposuction not just by being shot, stabbed, mutilated or beheaded, to death.
The Houston Chronicle goes on to state:
Most died in the recent outbreaks of violence in border cities — Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo.
Although, historically, even Mexico’s most violent urban centers had homicide rates below those of major U.S. cities, recent attacks and border violence driven by drug demand have escalated well beyond limited narco-executions. Juarez last year ranked among the world’s most murderous cities. The Chronicle analysis showed some American homicide victims were involved in organized crime. The dead include at least two dozen victims labeled hitmen, drug dealers, human smugglers or gang members, based on published investigators’ accusations. Others were drug users or wanted for crimes in the United States.
But in at least 70 other cases, U.S. citizens appear to have been killed while in Mexico for innocent reasons: visiting family, taking a vacation, or simply living or working there.
In addition to those killed, as many as 75 Americans, mainly from Texas and California, remain missing in Mexico, based on FBI data.
Now we are getting somewhere, roughly 70 cases of U.S. citizens killed in Mexico since 2004 were confirmed for innocent reasons. Seventy cases in three years, roughly 23.3 unnatural deaths per year.
Houston Chronicle released a follow up report 10 days later stating:
Americans in Mexico continued to be slain at a rate of nearly one each week through the end of 2008 and there is little reason to think the violence will stop anytime soon, U.S. Embassy officials have confirmed.
In fact, the number of homicides is likely higher, because many victims die after being taken to hospitals across the border and — along with other killings — often go unreported to the U.S. Department of State. I’m convinced the total number of deaths is very much under-reported said Ed McKeon, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Mexico told the Houston Chronicle.
In Juarez alone, the U.S. consul has estimated at least 30 Americans were slain last year in a wave of killings that took more than 1,600 lives.
Overall, the State Department’s official reports of deaths of citizens for 2008 in Mexico included 49 cases classified as homicides.
The U.S. consul estimates 30 American citizens slain in Juarez in 2008. That I can, sadly, believe as it is well known that in Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from America’s number 3 safest big city, El Paso, Texas, there is a horrific cartel war fighting for the largest drug corridor in the country.
That is also exactly why the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez released the following urgent advisory for any American citizen intending to visit Ciudad Juarez:
The U.S. Consulate General urges all Americans to carefully consider the risk and necessity of all travel to Ciudad Juárez and the state of Chihuahua. American citizens are not being targeted. However, U.S. citizenship provides no protection from the violence.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Mexican Congressman Juan Francisco Rivera Bedoya of Nuevo Leon, a former prosecutor who heads the national Public Safety Commission, said:
Most American victims get killed after crossing the border to participate in illegal activities or venturing into unsafe areas. Tourists visiting cathedrals, museums and other cultural centers are not at risk.
So, where do we stand? Roughly 70 confirmed innocent American deaths from 2004-2007, 75 missing U.S. citzens, and 49 confirmed American homicides in 2008.
To avoid arguement, let’s assume all 2008 confirmed American homicides as well as the 75 missing, were all innocent of any and all wrong doing. That leaves us with, rounding it off, 200 unnatural American deaths from 2004-2008, or 50 per year.
Statistics from the Integrated System for Immigration Operations (SIOM), show a total of 3,073,895 American tourists visited Mexico during the first four months 2008, compared to the 2,992,472 that did so during the same period in 2007. Bloomberg reports state Mexico had 22.6 million foreign tourists in 2008, a 5.9 percent gain from a year before. Mexico also has more than 1.2 million U.S. citizens who reside in Mexico; there has been yet to be a mass exodus to the U.S.
Let’s look at those figures again: 1.2 million U.S.citizens reside in Mexico. 3,073,895 U.S. citizens visited Mexico in the first four months of 2008, not four years just four months out of the entire 48 month U.S. citizen missing / unnatural death study.
According to the CQ Press’s 2008 report which ranks over 300 American cities in six different areas — murder, rape, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft, New Orleans, Louisiana is the most dangerous city in the U.S with 209 homicides for the year. That is 209 murdered people in one city, in one year; I would assume most of them, if not all of them were American Citizens, but that’s neither here nor there; we’re talking about Mexico.
There is no conspiracy or attempt to cover up the truth. Mexico does have violence, people are killed; innocent people. There is a war in Mexico, but it is not a lawless, murderous free for all as the press ofton reports. American journalist, Jeremy Schwartz, who resides in Mexico, recently wrote:
While there are certainly some failed cities – I would never tell loved ones to go anywhere near Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana or Culiacan – most of the country is still stable and peaceful. As violent as the drug war has become, its victims are still overwhelmingly connected to the cartels. Few innocents are caught in the cross-fire. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a sightseeing trip to certain border towns or through the remote mountains of the Sierra Madre, but tourists should feel comfortable booking a trip to places like Puerto Vallarta or Oaxaca or Veracruz. In many parts of the country, the drug war remains confined to the headlines.
It ha been commented in many blogs and news reports that if you are goig to Mexico “TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK“, isn’t that what you do everytime you go anywhere ? How many people have been killed driving to their neighborhood store for a gallon of milk? How many people have become victims while traveling?
There is nowhere in this world you can be considered 100% safe. There is no guarentee you will not fall victim to some sort of violence, even death, anywhere, anytime.
I am in no way trying to deny, condone, or lessen the true tragedy involving the deaths of these innocent American citizens here in Mexico; the killing of even one innocent person is one too many, but if you look at the figures and the entire picture, the big picture, as an American citizen, your chances of dying an unnatural death, here in Mexico are quite slim.