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Thursday, 27 February 2014

With recent murders in Jocotepec and Ajijic, Chapala may no longer be “safe”

An American named John Paul Abeel, 67, was found dead in Jocotepec on the western shores of Lake Chapala on Thursday, February 20. Mexican authorities are treating the death as a homicide – he was found strangled, with one of his arms severed – and three arrests have been made. This comes after the murder of a Canadian couple in nearby Ajijic, also on the shores of Chapala, earlier this month, and the murder of the American Bentley Main, who was stabbed to death in Chapala in March, 2013.
 
Chapala's tranquil shores
It is stories like these that have most expats who live or stay for extended periods of time in Mexico spending a lot of time answering a single question from friends and family back home: is Mexico “safe”.

In asking the question, there is an assumption that we all know what the word means, and that we share the same definition and risk tolerance (usually falling within a range that would be acceptable at home). Not so. There is also an assumption that we assess risk more-or-less objectively. Also not so.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Arrest of El Chapo Guzman is big news in Mazatlán

The Miramar
El Chapo Guzman, head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, was captured yesterday at a hotel in the tourist town of Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Local reports are that the arrest went peacefully, without the violent gun battles that have been the hallmark of other takedowns.

El Chapo was arrested at the Miramar on the Malecón, which rents out condos.  Much of the tourist development in that part of Mazatlan is rumoured to be financed, at least in part, by the Sinaloa cartel. Particularly north of the Golden Zone, in the Marina area, many of the newer hotel/condo complexes are only partially occupied, with cartel interests suspected of building them in order to launder money and plan for the long haul.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Canadian couple murdered in Ajijic, Mexico

Nina Discombe
Police in Ajijic, Jalisco, on the shores of Lake Chapala and about 45 minutes outside of Guadalajara, have found the bodies of a retired Canadian couple. The two were allegedly victims of an assault, the motive being robbery.

Ajijic and neighbouring Chapala are home to thousands of expat Canadian and Americans, drawn to the area because of its beautiful climate and, up until recently, its tranquility.