I spent last weekend in Gral. Teran, Nuevo Leon (Mexico) and before that I spent about a month traveling through southern Mexico not once did I feel unsafe or in any kind of danger. I am not writing this post to scare anyone or keep anyone from traveling to Mexico. I am writing this post because I want to write my feelings about the drug war that is going on in Mexico and what has happened to a town that holds a special place in my heart.
This isn’t just any town I visited. This is the town my parents are from and grew up in. This is the town I’d spend my Christmas and summer vacations at when I was a kid. This is where my grandparents still live. This is Gral. Teran, Nuevo Leon. It’s a small town about 2hrs south from the Texas border and about 1hr north of Monterrey, Mexico. It’s a town where just about everyone knows everyone. It’s a town where kids used to roam the streets at all times of the day and night. It’s a town where every night the main plaza would be full of people just hanging out. It was a town where you felt safe and happy. Sadly all that has changed.
In less then a year things have gone from bad to worse. Just to give you a look at some of the incidents that have happened recently I will list a few. At the beginning of the year the drug cartels came to Gral. Teran and shot hundreds of rounds of ammunition and two grenades at the Gral. Teran Police Station, (this was the 3rd attempt on the station). You can watch the news feed here in spanish. Luckily no one was at the station at the time, but soon after the police force resigned. Now Gral. Teran is a town with no law enforcement. At the beginning of June; 3 decapitated bodies were found at the entrance of the town stuffed in bags while the heads were placed on a bench to be seen. You can watch the news feed here in spanish. Then a few weeks later they killed 5 workers at a local car wash shop. You can watch the news feed here in spanish. They are also randomly stopping people on the interstates and taking their vehicles just because.
Thanks to these incidents and a few others the drug cartels now basically run the town. I say basically because they don’t interact with the people that live in the town, but they have placed a fear over the town that is unimaginable. No one comes to visit anymore and the people that live there go about there business during there day like normal, but when darkness falls everyone stays home & inside. You don’t see a single soul on the streets after dark.
I knew for a while that I wanted to go to Gral. Teran to see my grandparents before I left on the rest of my trip. My mom on the other hand did not want me to go at all because of the current situation. Luckily for me my brother had an errand to run down there so I tagged along with him. I spent the 3 days there chatting with my grandparents every morning and the afternoons with my friend Luica. We would literrally spend our day laying in bed doing nothing because their was nothing to do and you don’t want to be out on the streets if you don’t need to be. We would then spend the nights again at her house doing nothing and just drinking.
Of the many chats we had of course most of them were about the town and everything going on. We would talk about how things used to be and what amazing times we had all over the town as kids. I of course am very sentimental and would get sad. I would tell her and her mom that we could not let them win. They looked lost, I let them know by us not going to the plaza and enjoying an evening or going out to eat after dark they are wining. That is what they want from us. They want us to be scared so that during the night they can use the town as a pivotal point to transport drugs further north and then into the United States. The way I look at it is if you are not involved in any of those things the chances of something happening to you are slim, but of course we are human and rather be safe then sorry. Even though I didn’t want to the 3 nights I spent there I spent them inside at someones house.
I believe the situation in Mexico is only getting worse, but what people need to understand is that it is not ALL OF MEXICO that is going through these problems. These are incidents that are happening in certain places for certain reasons that well only the drug cartels know why. Before visiting Gral. Teran I spent a month traveling through southern Mexico. I had a good time eating bugs and great carne asada in Oaxaca enjoyed some amazing waterfalls, rivers & ruins in Palenque even was able to attend my brothers wedding in Playa del Carmen. I hope and pray that things get better. I hate to see my family basically in lock down because drug cartels need to use the town to get drugs further north. Mexico is an amazing and beautiful country full of so much diversity and culture that sadly is going through a rough patch, but like other things I hope with time things will change and get better. For now we should not let fear hold us back and continue to visit our families down there.