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Old 11-27-2007, 11:09 AM   #11
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A few..... or more Bad apples

Glad to hear that ignorance is not abound. Truth of the matter is most people who live south of the border are good, hard working families, with strong religious ties. Its no-wonder so many try to flee north for a better life for themselves and their children. Unfortunately its always the few who spoil it for the masses. (Just like anywere else.) I lived in Baja Malibu as a child for a bit back in the early 70's. The most common corruption seemed to be either vehicle related, or not honoring contractual agreements. ie; marriage, or buiseness. Fraud was abound. Card-board houses where the norm and people kept warm by burning rubber tires. But people are simply people wherever you go. There is the good, bad, and lazy. I for one look at it as a numbers game. If you haven't been jacked yet....... yet, then the numbers have been on your side. Keep stacking the odds in your favor by taking every precaution that is legally available to you. ---or just dont go! I really enjoy Mexico. But because of these few bad apples, they are spoiling the whole barrel for everyone.


one more tid-bit...... 2 cents..... why is Mexico so poor? They have some of the richest oil reserves sitting underneath big blue...... and an endless amount of willing individuals who desperately need work. Think about it.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:39 AM   #12
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Maybe after we're done in Iraq, we should invade / liberate Mexico and add it to the union as a handful of new states. This would simultaneously end the whole illegal immigrant issue and open up the area for exploitation of the Mexican natural resources and tourism hot spots in an unprecedented way. We could teach the natives to speak English and drive big cars and drink Starbucks and surf the net. There'd be jobs created there en masse as highways would need to be rebuilt to U.S. standards, housing would need to be rebuilt to code, etc.

From a practical standpoint, no one down there would object to this liberation so there'd be no insurgency. This would allow them all full U.S. citizenship without having to cross the border by dark of night and dampness of river.

Then Baja would be easier for us all to get to, with no border station lines to wait in. The few remaining banditos could be taken out by whoever's fighting the war on drugs.

If I'm elected president, I'll make this my first priority. Write in "Lowracer" on your ballot in 2008.
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:36 PM   #13
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Viva La Mexico!

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Old 11-27-2007, 05:45 PM   #14
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Works for me Lowracer. But then, there'd be no point in going to Mexico as we would have screwed it up just like we have at home.

I really feel safe everywhere in Baja except for the west coast down for about 150 miles. There's always been a lot of problems in that area. I've been "doing Baja" for over 35 years and have never had a problem. Even been pulled over by cops that just wanted a bribe. I always say no and tell 'em to take me to the police station. They usually just drive off. Last year my wife ran a stop sign in San Felipe and the guy wanted mordita. She said no, and he took her to the station. The paper work took fifteen minutes and the fine was eleven pesos. About a buck and we have a neat ticket framed on the wall. Just had a friend this past weekend do the same thing and she paid the cop $40 bucks instead of insisting on doing it the right way. He must have radioed his buddy, cause she was then pulled over about three blocks later and the second guy wanted more money. People paying illegal fines just perpetuate the problem. Most of the cops are hard working only pull you over when you've done something wrong, and don't ask for bribes.

As for bandits, as has been said by others, you take your chances everywhere. Lots of drive-bys, and worse, in many of our big cities. Just use your head and get off the beaten path. These guys aren't driving the crummy back roads looking for targets. Too much work and hassle. Boondocking gets you away from it all just as it does in the States.

I'm sorry the few bad ones keep lots of Norte Americanos from coming down here and really having a neat experiance, but then again it just leaves it uncrowded for the rest of us. Do what's good for your comfort level and enjoy life. If you do come down, stay on the east side and the worst you'll have is double vision from all the washboard....
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:07 PM   #15
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Scatter - thanks for the input. You have basically confirmed my "suspician" that it is only a real problem on the West coast of Baja. Unfortunately there is no surf on the East side . This was typically the reason we have done so many trips to Baja. I guess we will need to hit up the Seven Sisters area when we now go since it is much further South.

We have a bunch of friends that own property North of San Felipe and have visited them many times before. We have never had any problems there as well and always have a good time.

I'm glad to hear that this hasn't affected you at all.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:48 PM   #16
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Discussion

Yes Johnny.. in the back ....put down your hand now. Would you like to add to our discussion? No really, seriously. I'm glad this topic hits home with us Southern Californians or West Coasters (or should I say North Mexico?)
If it brings awareness to the peoples..... well then, we did our job. Talk it up and educate.
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:07 PM   #17
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It looks like the problems in Baja have extended to the SCORE Baja 1000. I did read about Chris Hall's experience on the way back, but this wasn't an isolated incident.

U.S. racers concerned about problems in Baja

This is a huge tourist income event for Baja and very organized as well. Hopefully they can actually have some influence in making Baja safer for everyone.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:24 PM   #18
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There was an article in todays LA Times about all the recent evens in Baja. Today is the first day for a new mayor in TJ that has plans for major changes. I have never had any problems traveling in Baja and have no plans to stop going there either. I also always abide by the following rules
1. never drive at night, ever
2. Always travel with our dogs
3. always travel with a group
4. Only camp in private campgrounds north of El Rosario

As for the suggestion that we take over Mexico don't forget that we did allready in 1848 when the Mexican-American war ended.
From Wikipedia
Duing the war, political quarrels in the US arose regarding the disposition of conquered Mexico. A strong "All-Mexico" movement urged annexation of the entire territory. Abolitionists opposed that position and fought for the exclusion of slavery from any territory absorbed by the United States. In 1847, the House of Representatives passed the Wilmot Proviso, stipulating that none of the territory acquired should be open to slavery. The Senate avoided the issue, and a late attempt to add it to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was defeated.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was the result of Nicholas Trist's unauthorized negotiations. It was approved by the U.S. Senate on 10 March 1848, and ratified by the Mexican Congress on May 25. Mexico's cession of Alta California and Nuevo México and its recognition of U.S. sovereignty over all of Texas north of the Rio Grande formalized the addition of 3.1 million km² (1.2 million mi2) of territory to the United States. In return the United States agreed to pay $15 million and assumed the claims of its citizens against Mexico. A final territorial adjustment between Mexico and the United States was made by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

As late as 1880, the "Republican Campaign Textbook" by the Republican Congressional Committee [5] described the war as "Feculent, reeking Corruption" and "one of the darkest scenes in our history - a war forced upon our and the Mexican people by the high-handed usurpations of Pres't Polk in pursuit of territorial aggrandizement of the slave oligarchy".
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Old 01-05-2008, 02:02 PM   #19
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Warning down in Baja


Tourists shun crime-hit Mexico beaches
By ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 31 minutes ago
Assaults on American tourists have brought hard times to hotels and restaurants that dot Mexican beaches just south of the border from San Diego.
Surfers and kayakers are frightened to hit the waters of the northern stretch of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, long popular as a weekend destination for U.S. tourists. Weddings have been canceled. Lobster joints a few steps from the Pacific were almost empty on the usually busy New Year's weekend.
Americans have long tolerated shakedowns by police who boost salaries by pulling over motorists for alleged traffic violations, and tourists know parts of Baja are a hotbed of drug-related violence. But a handful of attacks since summer by masked, armed bandits — some of whom used flashing lights to appear like police — marks a new extreme that has spooked even longtime visitors.
Lori Hoffman, a San Diego-area emergency room nurse, said she was sexually assaulted Oct. 23 by two masked men in front of her boyfriend, San Diego Surfing Academy owner Pat Weber, who was forced to kneel at gunpoint for 45 minutes. They were at a campground with about 30 tents, some 200 miles south of the border.
The men shot out windows of the couple's trailer and forced their way inside, ransacked the cupboards and left with about $7,000 worth of gear, including computers, video equipment and a guitar.
Weber, who has taught dozens of students in Mexico over the last 10 years, plans to surf in Costa Rica or New Zealand. "No more Mexico," said Hoffman, who reported the attack to Mexican police. No arrests have been made.
The Baja California peninsula is known worldwide for clean and sparsely populated beaches, lobster and margaritas and blue waters visited by whales and dolphins. Surfers love the waves; fishermen catch tuna, yellowtail and marlin. Food and hotels are cheap.
News of harrowing assaults on American tourists has begun to overshadow that appeal in the northern part of the peninsula, home to drug gangs and the seedy border city of Tijuana. The comparatively isolated southern tip, with its tony Los Cabos resort, remains safer and is still popular with Hollywood celebrities, anglers and other foreign tourists.
Local media and surfing Web sites that trumpeted Baja in the past have reported several frightening crimes that U.S. and Mexican officials consider credible. Longtime visitors are particularly wary of a toll road near the border that runs through Playas de Rosarito — Rosarito Beach.
In late November, as they returned from the Baja 1000 off-road race, a San Diego-area family was pulled over on the toll road by a car with flashing lights. Heavily armed men held the family hostage for two hours.
They eventually released them but stole the family's truck.
Before dawn on Aug. 31, three surfers were carjacked on the same stretch of highway. Gunmen pulled them over in a car with flashing lights, forced them out of their vehicles and ordered one to kneel. They took the trucks and left the surfers.
Aqua Adventures of San Diego scrapped its annual three-day kayak trip to scout for whales in January, ending a run of about 10 years. Customers had already been complaining about longer waits to return to the U.S.; crime gave them another reason to stay away.
"People are just saying, 'No way.' They don't want to deal with the risk," said owner Jen Kleck, who has sponsored trips to Baja about five times a year but hasn't been since July.
Charles Smith, spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, said the U.S. government has not found a widespread increase in attacks against Americans, but he acknowledged many crimes go unreported. The State Department has long warned motorists on Mexico's border to watch for people following them, though no new warnings have been issued.
Mexican officials acknowledge crime has threatened a lifeblood of Baja's economy. In Playas de Rosarito, a city of 130,000, police were forced to surrender their weapons last month for testing to determine links to any crimes. Heavily armed men have patrolled City Hall since a failed assassination attempt on the new police chief left one officer dead. On Thursday the bullet-riddled bodies of a Tijuana police official and another man were found dumped near the beach.
"We cannot minimize what's happening to public safety," said Oscar Escobedo Carignan, Baja's new secretary of tourism. "We're going to impose order ... We're indignant about what's happening."
Tourist visits to Baja totaled about 18 million in 2007, down from 21 million the previous year, Escobedo said. Hotel occupancy dropped about 5 percentage points to 53 percent.
Hugo Torres, owner of the storied Rosarito Beach Hotel and the city's new mayor, estimates the number of visitors to Rosarito Beach since summer is down 30 percent.
In the city's Puerto Nuevo tourist enclave, which offers $20 lobster dinners and $1 margaritas, restaurant managers said sales were down as much as 80 percent from last year. One Saturday afternoon in October, masked bandits wielding pistols walked the streets and kidnapped two men — an American and a Spanish citizen — who were later released unharmed. Two people who were with them were shot and wounded.
Omar Armendariz, who manages a Puerto Nuevo lobster restaurant, is counting on the new state and city governments to make tourists feel safer. He has never seen fewer visitors in his nine years on the job.
"It's dead," he said.
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:05 PM   #20
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More bad news in Mexico & Baja:

MEXICO: A SHIFT IN CARTEL TACTICS?

Even after more than a year of expanded security operations across Mexico, nearly all accounts suggest the violence associated with the drug trade there continues to increase. Within the last week, the country has seen intense firefights involving rocket-propelled grenades in cities along the U.S. border, prolonged gunbattles in Cancun, mutilated bodies discovered in Acapulco, two severed heads found just blocks away from the international airport in Mexico City and the assassination of three police officers and the wife and daughter of an officer in Tijuana. Especially considering their locations, these incidents should be of particular concern to the more than 100,000 U.S. high school and college students expected to visit Mexico during the upcoming spring break season.

Stratfor has followed these trends of violence closely, documenting the many security concerns associated with the country's organized criminal entities. Adding to these worries is the new concern of a prolonged insurgent-style campaign being waged by the country's powerful drug cartels. U.S. counterterrorism sources report that the Gulf cartel in particular has realized that it is incapable of head-to-head engagements with the Mexican military and federal police, but is confident that engaging in insurgent-style tactics will give it an advantage.

In many ways, these kinds of tactics already are being used by Mexico's drug trafficking organizations. Cartel members have demonstrated a strong capability to conduct ambushes and hit-and-run attacks against convoys, highway checkpoints and police and military installations.

More unnerving is the Jan. 12 discovery of a booby-trapped body in a cartel safe-house in Cancun. Police responding to a report of a kidnapping became engaged in an extended gun battle with cartel members when the officers approached what turned out to be a safe-house containing a cache of assault rifles and grenades. Once the suspects fled the house and the authorities began searching the premises, police reported that the cartel members had pulled the pin on a fragmentation grenade and then placed the grenade in the hand of a dead body.

These kinds of practices are of particular concern to Mexican and U.S. authorities as they consider how the cartels will respond to the increased security environment.

If the possibility of increasing insurgent-style tactics from the cartels is to be examined, however, reasons why the cartels have not engaged in this kind of fighting before must also be explored. For example, it is somewhat surprising that Mexico's drug trafficking organizations have yet to make use of improvised explosive devices in their attacks against civilian and police targets, especially considering how available inexpensive explosives are in Mexico. Furthermore, the cartels have business relationships with Colombian drug gangs that have expertise and experience in constructing and deploying carbombs; members of Colombian drug cartels often travel to Mexico to meet with cartel members there and work out the details of cocaine shipments from South America. The Kaibiles -- Central American special forces -- that have joined some of the cartels also presumably have expertise in explosives.

However, most drug cartel enforcers in Mexico come from military or law enforcement backgrounds and are much more familiar with using guns than bombs. Furthermore, the cartels have not had to shift tactics yet, since -- despite the increased security presence in many areas -- they still largely have been able to rely on bribes and intimidation in order to transport drugs and make money. Yet this does not alleviate the concern that heavier government pressure on the cartels will force them to adopt insurgent-style tactics that could result in greater collateral damage.

It is important to note that any cartel-related insurgency that arises will not lead to a shift in the cartels' goals. Their primary objectives of making a profit and defeating security forces will not expand to include any type of political overthrow. Mexico's drug cartels will continue to focus on their lucrative drug markets.

Source: Stratfor (Jan 15, 2008)
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