Violence on wheels | THE COUNTRY Mexico

This is an installment of the weekly newsletter from Mexico, which can be followed at this link

While Europe explodes with tractors occupying streets and highways in agricultural protests, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Mexico, freight transporters collapse the roads with their trucks. The former demand economic improvements in their activity, the latter fear for their lives: some of the banners that were displayed at the blockades said: “They are killing us.” And it’s not from hunger, precisely. In Guerrero, one of the most violent states, five drivers were murdered in a single day, but the attacks occur throughout the country, accustomed to solving its affairs with bullets. From the capital to Querétaro, to Acapulco, to Puebla, wherever. Violence pursues and reaches the population, even if it goes at 100 kilometers per hour. And oh, good news, this time the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, recognized the problem: “It exists,” he said. And “we are going to increase patrols,” he added.‌

Walking on wheels is not a guarantee of safety in Mexico. Any vehicle is a possible victim. If it is a car with citizens, they can stop it and kidnap the travelers. If it is a truck, the same thing happens, it is stopped by any means and the merchandise is stolen, which will then end up being sold in street stalls, whether mattresses or corn, it doesn’t matter. If it is a passenger bus, public or private, you will see how some criminals get on it and extort everyone who paid their fare: put cell phones, money, jewelry, whatever there is in the bag. Did they think that the trains were spared from assaults? Mistake. The railways are no obstacle for criminals, who already know how to slow down and strip the convoys of everything they carry, including migrants, who are also attacked. For those who like to watch trains go by, an afternoon in front of the tracks leaves a strange impression: who are those dark hooded men wielding long weapons standing between the carriages? Security agents. What image. Sometimes they say hello if you wave your hand too.‌

The plane remains, which also has its vulnerability, because visitors who arrive in Mexico, right at the gates of the country chosen for their vacation, suffer the outrages of corrupt employees who keep the food they brought to enjoy at home. Goodbye to the ham that one bought for his friends. And with what impudence. Neither military nor sailors who can prevent it. Violence is exercised in many ways and corruption is one of them. Even signs warn the countrymen so that they do not let themselves be scammed. More than warnings, they should put measures to solve it, the suggestion is useful.‌

Mexico is a difficult country to travel to. From any point to any point, from end to end. It’s better not to complain about the strange overtaking that another driver made in the city, because the accused person can get out and shoot him twice. It’s not an exaggeration, it has happened recently, more than once. It also happens that if a truck drives the smaller vehicle off the road, which turns into the ditch twice, the driver will flee without stopping to help the injured. Many hits and accidents usually end like this: with the driver fleeing and the authorities and family members searching for him, perhaps forever. Why do they do it? Because they have not paid the insurance and they fear the consequences, because they were using cocaine to endure the long hours of the journey, because they are not old enough to drive, for whatever reason, they escape and the injured or dead are seen there.

Some time ago, Mexico gave one of the cruelest images of the moment. Dozens of people came to steal the corn (or was it wheat, or what?) from an overturned truck on the road without anyone thinking of first helping the driver, who was dying between the cab and the asphalt. So he died. Mention is often made of the normality with which Mexicans have become accustomed to receiving tragedies and violence, so exposed that they are to them daily. It is also a way to look away so as not to see the daily horror. Eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel, the saying goes. Everyone protects themselves as they can. What is surprising is that there are not blockades every day to demand a little peace. Tractors in Europe seem like child’s play seen from the other side of the Atlantic.

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