Tijuana, Part 2
For over 100 years, the people of the United
States have visited Tijuana for its charms. Door after door along
Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion is filled with laughter and
odd smells that some say are even intoxicating.
Everywhere in Tijuana there are Tijuana policeman.
The city is of course, absolutely safe. Guns are outlawed in Mexico
so crime must be nonexistent. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
has reported that even 80 percent of police officers, prosecutors
and judges in Tijuana and in the state of Baja California are
on a drug cartel payroll.
“Crime” is a bad word in Mexico and
only the mean spirited would utter such a word in the same sentence
as “Tijuana.” There are, however, whispers about kidnappings
of hundreds of people a year in the city and the quiet exchanges
of huge bundles of cash.
Body guards look good but you can’t always
be surrounded by six of them. Sanyo discovered this when their
local manager, Mamoru Konno, was suddenly vacuumed from a Tijuana
street. He was held for ten days by local taxi drivers until Sanyo
paid the $2 million. His adventure reached the media only because
the kidnapping had been orchestrated by rank amateurs.
Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez moved his entire
family from Mexico to San Antonio, Texas, after paying off the
kidnappers to get most of his son back in one piece. The other
piece had been sent earlier to prove that the kidnappers actually
had the child. "Artists" are not the only people escaping
the violence. In Tijuana, it's become a survival
strategy to live in the USA.
Spain now warns its citizens about traveling
to Mexico after eight of its citizens were kidnapped and six of
Of course, then when is “kidnapping”
really kidnapping? Here in Tijuana being trapped in a taxi for
hours, beaten nearly to death, and your credit cards and ATM cards
used while you are so claustrophobically ensconced isn’t
kidnapping. They let you go.
Kidnapping is a quick cash generator for many
in the city and so it is best to only travel on local toll roads
and not the “romantic close-to-the-people dusty roads”
with the temporary blockades and torches (torches only after sundown).
The U.S. Embassy keeps lists of such incidents and they include
robbery, kidnapping, and even the murder of an Egyptian diplomat.
The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens not to
hitchhike or accept rides from or offer rides to strangers here
because it vastly complicates their work day and the shipping
of bodies back to the United States requires a lot of paperwork.
Sometimes all this action spatters northwards
over the border. Thanks to the double barrrier along much of the
local urban border area the cross-border
spatterings are limited.