Here is a translated summary of this article in El Debate by the M3 Report:
"Relatives of murder and kidnapping victims in Tijuana have started a campaign to alert travelers crossing the border to Tijuana about the need for awareness regarding the increase and impunity of those crimes in Tijuana. The leader of a citizens’ group stated that 1,700 such cases have occurred in the last seven years, but he also acknowledged that not all cases have been reported and that the official tally is much below reality. The mother of a U.S. citizen presently being held for ransom has applied for permission to demonstrate about this danger on the U.S. side of the border crossing. Groups of people beating pots and pans and carrying placards have been demonstrating in front of local government’s offices in Tijuana." Link to the M3 Report and the Full Spanish-language Article
Analysis: There is no question that kidnapping is and has been a huge problem in Tijuana, often referred to as the kidnap capital of Latin America. However, I wonder exactly what audience these demonstrators targeted. The local government offices are typical because most people feel their government isn't doing enough to resolve kidnap cases. But based on cross-border kidnapping statistics, I'm wondering about the nature of the cross-border travelers they tried to warn.
If the average Mexican kidnap victim were innocent American "gringos," then indeed we would have a huge outcry on our side of the border as well. The media has reported more than enough on the dangers of traveling to certain parts of Mexico, as has the US State Department in their travel alerts and warden messages. But the average kidnap victim in Mexico is not the "gringo" tourist or the innocent bystander.
FBI statistics, police reports, and personal anecdotes tell us that the LARGE majority of kidnap victims in Tijuana - and elsewhere in Mexico - are somehow involved in the drug trade. They could be dealers who have lied to their DTO bosses, transporters who have lost loads, or women whose boyfriends or husbands have seriously pissed off someone in the DTO chain of command. It's true that illegal immigrants are sometimes kidnapped and tortured while their relatives in the US are extorted for money. And occasionally, prominent Mexican-American businessmen who reside in the US and work in Mexico are picked up because they have money in the bank. But in this case, we have to go with the most common case, which is criminals being kidnapped by...criminals.
I believe that most Mexicans know this is the case, despite the fact that some vehemently deny their sons or husbands - now kidnap victims - could ever be involved in that business. So why try to warn people coming into Tijuana from San Diego and parts beyond? It's true that some people visiting Tijuana fit that victim bill because of their nefarious associations, but this kind of demonstration is going to hurt tourism by "gringos" to a Mexican state that is working REALLY hard to turn its image around and encourage more investment in a down economy.
I think this demonstration did better in bringing attention to the kidnapping problem in Mexico and the effect corruption has had on effective resolution of kidnap cases. Many DTOs and smaller, inexperienced criminal groups are getting into the K&R game, often with gruesome results. The situation has obviously hit a breaking point with Tijuana residents, and this is the method they felt would best get their message across. I think many Americans are getting that message that Tijuana is a dangerous place, but lets hope that local Mexican governments are feeling that frustration enough to get moving towards reducing the kidnapping rates.