But there is another message tucked into Alfredo Corchados story (linked below) focused on the booming Mayan Riviera on the eastern Yucatan peninsula, where business is on the upswing and the cartels havent tackied up the beaches with messy beheadings of their rivals yet. Mexico is one of the worlds richest nations, consistently ranking around #14 in GDP, with a growing middle class despite its problems. Cartel violence does not occur uniformly around the country but is located mostly near the US border.
Some raza types in the United States use cartel violence as an excuse to call for opening the borders even further. Illegal crossers avoiding crime are called narco refugees who seek political asylum. But only about half of refugees from cartel anarchy fled to the United States, with the remainder relocating themselves to safer areas of Mexico.
Mexicos Presidente Calderon always has his hand out for freebies whenever he visits Washington and complains about his terrible troubles and how they are all Americas fault. But in other precincts, Mexico presents itself as business friendly and modern.
Todays uplifting story of the Mexican Dream focuses on an energetic young fellow who moved to the Yucatan to improve his familys lifestyle and succeeded. While illegal immigration from Mexico may have diminished somewhat rather than ended, the trend of declining Mexodus is a welcome one.
Viva Mexico! Stay home, Mexicans, where you can be immersed in your beloved Raza racial identity and speak Spanish all day every day. Better for everyone involved.
Mexican migrants seeking work head south instead, by Alfredo Corchado, San Francisco Chronicle, May 20, 2012
Tulum Everardo Tejada had heard about the Mayan doomsday scenario, the one that supposedly predicts the world will end this year. With that in mind, he believed he didnt have much to lose in trying something out of the ordinary.
Instead of the end, hes sure hes found a beginning in Mexicos booming south.
As a kid, like everyone else, I dreamed of going north to the United States, he said. Not anymore. I know its hard to believe, but this part of Mexico doesnt feel like Mexico. Its something else.
Generations of men and women have chosen the north the United States as their escape valve, a place of reinvention and new jobs. But with U.S. jobs largely dried up because of the bad economy, especially in the construction sector, Mexicans are increasingly staying in their hometowns, finding jobs and carving out a livelihood, or, like Tejada, migrating inside Mexico in search of work.
A recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center buttresses earlier studies pointing to a decline in Mexican migration. It says the number of Mexicans living illegally in the United States fell from 7 million in 2007 to 6.1 million last year, the biggest drop in modern history.
President Felipe Calderon, in a recent speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, noted the reduced migration to the United States and cited expanding opportunities in Mexico at a time when Mexicans are facing growing restrictions in the United States.
One destination drawing Mexicans from other parts of the country is the Mayan Riviera, along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, an area booming with tourism jobs and far from the drug-related violence that has killed more than 50,000 people in recent years.
Mexicos census bureau, known as INEGI, reported a 4.1 percent population increase to about 1.3 million in the Mayan Riviera last year, compared with 1.4 percent nationwide, making it the fastest-growing region in Mexico. Some communities, such as Tulum, report growth of more than 15 percent. Fueling the growth and internal migration are new investments and infrastructure projects that include a four-lane highway and an airport under construction.
The boom is partly due to a new campaign to lure American tourists back to Mexico with the slogan The Mexico You Thought You Knew. The Mexican government is wooing foreign tourists by making it easier to get visas and offering special packages. This month, Mexico will host 20 top tourism ministers from around the world in nearby Merida, a meeting aimed at enticing more visitors.
Were convinced that tourism remains a fully untapped market for us, said Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete of Mexicos Tourism Board. The United States, Texas particularly, is our priority. But were also aggressively pursuing international tourism, all in an effort to create more opportunities, good-paying jobs, for Mexicans.
The state of Texas recent warning that residents should avoid travel to Mexico convinced Mexican tourism officials that they must do more to lure international tourists, in part by taking their message directly to Americans and bypassing governments, which they say have used Mexicos drug war to score political points.
The strategy seems to be working. The Mexican Ministry of Tourism says 2011 set records, with 22.67 million international visitors, an increase of 2 percent from the prior year. Meanwhile, Mexicos share of U.S. tourists traveling abroad increased from 14.6 percent in 2008 to 15.3 percent.
Tejada was born and raised in the city of Guadalajara and grew up believing his future lay in the north, just as it had for past generations of his family and friends. But on a vacation with his wife through Tulum, he changed his mind and decided that the American dream was gone. Jobs were scarce, and crossing the border carried too much risk of violence.
Tejada took a job as a waiter at an Italian restaurant, learned a few Italian words and developed an Italian accent. Hes now the head waiter and has moved his entire family to the region. Sometimes at night, he finds it surreal when he turns on his television and watches the violence that has gripped other parts of his country, including Guadalajara.
Its sad, and sometimes I have to remind myself that this is still Mexico, he said, that were building opportunities in such violent times.