When I was living in Mexico, specifically in Monterrey, things were pretty safe. This was from 2008-2009. I really wasn’t worried about traveling safely, or about being kidnapped too much. The rise of kidnappings started when I was living there, however, and things have only gotten worse in the huge city of economic prowess.
Monterrey has a neighborhood that is the richest in all of Latin America. That is really saying something. The richest including Brazil, Chile, and other cities that contain vast wealth.
When I first moved to Monterrey, I wasn’t expecting or prepared for the intense amount of wealth that was circulating in my high school. The American School Foundation of Monterrey is considered an international school, but it really was far from that.
The teachers were from all over but mostly from the United States or Canada. There were a few exceptions, but not too many.
The students, however, were right around 98 percent Mexican citizens. The rest were a mix of Korean, American, Canadian, and everything else including Finnish and Danish. The percentage of actual international students was extremely low. Most of the kids at the school had been born and raised in Monterrey, attending the same schools since they were all in preschool.
This created a very tight nit community in the students. Most had known each other since they were extremely young.
The kidnapping in Monterrey didn’t scare me, however, because they were targeting the more rich people in the city. Although in retrospect of Mexico itself, I can be considered rich. In regards to Monterrey, though, I was far from it. I took taxi cabs and used the public bus systems to get around. Most other students drove really expensive cars.
But the kidnappings slowly increased, and the general of safety in the city was kidnapped himself. Now drug cartels are becoming increasingly present in the once extremely safe city.
In April, some guests were hauled off from the Holiday Inn in the city by masked gunmen, according to http://www.npr.org/templates/story
the npr report highlights a lot of kidnappings that have occurred recently, especially the chief of the Monterrey transit police, and his deputy.
I remember when I was living in Monterrey, drug cartels kidnappings of the head of security in the city was highly ironic. He had been advising citizens, as well as the American Consulate on how to stay safe from kidnappings.
These criminals often provoke these thoughts, the thought that you can be safe. They kidnap officials thought to be unscathed by the cartels. This is almost like a form of terrorism in itself. They can capture you at anytime, whenever they want.
I was recently thinking about taking a small vacation back to Monterrey, but now I am second guessing it.
I want to remain safe, but I do miss the city and all the friends I left behind.