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Is Rosarito Beach safe? City hopes to sell point to travel writers

January 19, 2009 |  1:00 pm

Rosarito Beach

There has been heated discussion on Outposts over whether Rosarito Beach is safe while a narco war rages out of control in the vicinity of the Baja California border-area tourist destination.

Town officials and expatriate residents maintain that tourists are probably safer now than before the upturn in drug-related killings during the past two years because there are more cops who are better-paid and screened regularly to make sure they've not been corrupted.

How confident are tourism officials that this is true? So confident that they're hosting six travel writers from the U.S. during the last week of January.

A gamble, yes, but a necessary one if the city hopes to lure precious tourists back to a city known for its carefree party atmosphere, its surfing, fishing and proximity to the high-desert wine country.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I felt safe there during a recent visit. I've also been checking the headlines recently and things have been pretty quiet on the killing front within Rosarito Beach.

(Not so in the mainland border city of Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. There have been more than 50 drug-related murders already this month in what was Mexico's most violent city in 2008.)
 
Interestingly, Rosarito Beach Mayor Hugo Torres told me that the problem might be abating because the bad people have killed too many of their own kind off.

Wouldn't that be nice!

Unfortunately, there is always another bad person to fill a dead bad person's shoes, simply because there are riches to be made by selling drugs, and little opportunity to make money elsewhere in Mexico.

Anyway, Rosarito Beach may be a victim of its geography, but it can be thankful it's not even closer to the border, like Tijuana, or worse -- Ciudad Juarez, which appears to have become ground zero in the battle to control the flow of drugs into the U.S.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo by Al Schaben/Los Angeles Times

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