Rosarito Beach hoping for continued calm on the drug-violence front
News item: There are strong indications that the two largest drug gangs in the Mexican state of Sinaloa have called a truce, as reported today in the Los Angeles Times.
The number of drug-related killings has reportedly decreased by two-thirds from the frightening December level in what has long been considered the center of Mexican drug trafficking.
Reaction: Could this have anything to do with what seems a lull in drug-related violence in northern Baja California; a quietude that might help Rosarito Beach and Ensenada lure more tourists back for some surfing, fishing, Baja-style lobster, shopping or wine country tours?
Sadly, the best possible scenario for these tourist destinations is that a) the drug gang leaders call a truce, or b) that one powerful drug lord solidifies power and can avoid being arrested.
After all, drugs flowed across the border with minimal violence before Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix was nabbed while fishing off Baja in 2006. Since then, the bloody battle for control over the trade has been unrelenting.
Perhaps, though, the cartel leaders are working things out. They certainly cannot keep the pace of murders up to 2008 levels: about 5,600 nationwide and 689 in Baja. That'd be counterproductive from a business standpoint, and the bosses realize that.
However, the rate of killings remains disturbing in the border town of Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso. At least eight murders occurred there during the last week alone.
But it will be interesting to see how things play out in light of developments in Sinaloa, and how severely it will continue to affect tourism. Hopefully for the sake of those in Mexico whose livelihoods depend on U.S. dollars, the murder rate will subside and tourist numbers will rise.
-- Pete Thomas
Photo credit: Rosarito Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau