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VIEWPOINT: Tourists aren’t drug cartel targets - they are collateral damage

The risks of traveling through Mexico are well known to longtime expat residents, plus those who properly research this country, read newspapers and digest advice wisely.

pg2 copyThese risks were hammered home this week when four American citizens became involved in a tragic incident in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

Like thousands of others, the visitors had driven across the border in search of low-cost health care. Finding themselves unwittingly caught up in the middle of a drug gang “operation,” their minivan was mistakenly attacked (the tourists were confused with a Haitian gang, reportedly) and two of the U.S. citizens died. The other two were taken hostage but quickly located by police.

The U.S. media outrage was to be expected, as anyone who has followed similar incidents in the past will know. Some of the Mexican reaction too: President Lopez Obrador’s comment that such news immediately becomes fodder for U.S. tabloids but “when Mexicans are murdered in the United States, they are silent like mummies” was a view some Mexicans secretly shared.

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