Acapulco, Mexico has some of the most breath taking views of the Pacific Ocean and was once a hot spot for royalty and celebrities like Frank Sinatra, The Kennedys and Elvis Presley. But today, the glamour has slowly vanished and fewer and fewer tourists are visiting this city. Why? This is because drug cartels have taken over.
Acapulco is now Mexico’s murder capital with crime rates higher than they have ever been. It’s the 4th most dangerous city in the world.
In 2015, there were 903 homicides in the city with just a population of 860,000. UNICEF has also named the city at the top of its child prostitution list.
“For each of the past five years, Acapulco has been the deadliest city in Mexico, in a marathon of murder that has hollowed out the hillside neighborhoods and sprawling colonials that tourists rarely visit. And yet, the term “drug war” only barely describes what is going on here,” writes The Washington Post. “The dominant drug cartel in Acapulco and the state of Guerrero broke up a decade ago. The criminals now in charge resemble neighborhood gangs — with names like 221 or Los Locos. An estimated 20 or more of these groups operate in Acapulco, intermixed with representatives from larger drug cartels who contract them for jobs. The gang members are young men who often become specialists — extortionists, kidnappers, car thieves, assassins — and prey on a largely defenseless population.”
Tourism, which still fuels the city’s economy, has continued to decline. Back in 2011, 5,918 Canadians traveled down to Acapulco. While in 2016, only 3,570 Canadians made the city a travel destination, according to the Mexican Tourism Board in Canada.
“Every year we are seeing less Canadians,” says hotel manager Jose Salgado to CBC News.
Canadians used to make up 80% of the city’s tourism population.
Global Affairs Canada doesn’t recommend non-essential travel to the Guerrero state, which includes Acapulco.
Although the city has been forced to deploy soldiers with bulletproof vests and assault rifles in tourist beach areas, the areas outside the tourist zones and the people who live in them are plagued with crime.
“They kill barbers, tailors, mechanics, tinsmiths, taxi drivers,” said Joaquin Badillo, who runs a private security company in Acapulco. “This has turned into a monster with 100 heads.”
Taxi drivers like Armando, a 55-year-old cab driver in the city, are forced to pay the drug lords a weekly fee.
“They have the power,” said Armando to The Washington Post. “They can do whatever they want.”
“But here, the main problem is violence. After 9 p.m., we can’t go out on the streets. What happened to those Spanish girls is what we live with every day, but nobody cares about us because we’re not foreigners,” said Janet, a 23-year-old mother who used to work at a hotel to World Crunch.
“Today in Acapulco all possible evils are available. In the mountains, opiates and marijuana are grown. Local cartels fight over the routes for drug smuggling, and internal consumption is soaring. Within these 1,882 square kilometers, everything you need to be a criminal is available: incredible beaches, cheap drugs and an abundance of hotels that range from $12 to $200 per night, separated by just a few meters. A far fall from the glamorous hot spot it once was,” writes World Crunch.
But the crime rates in the whole country of Mexico have spiked.
“Violence is spreading to new places and taking many forms. In Puebla, south of Mexico City, a fight rages over the sale of stolen fuel. Beach towns such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen have been bloodied by drug killings. The battle for human-smuggling routes leaves bodies strewn along the migrant trail,” writes The Washington Post.
More than 12,000 murders have been reported so far this year in Mexico and June was the country’s bloodiest month in the past two decades.
Author’s note: Mexico is now ruled by gangs and drug traffickers. These criminals have free reign and poor leadership is to blame. The politicians are corrupt, many have been bought and are working with criminals. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a strict stance on immigration, especially along the Mexico-U.S. border.
Editor’s note: Mexico is ruled by drug traffickers. They get whatever they want, whatever they need, the elected government is a facade. Peace and civility take a distant second.