Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kidnappings in Mexico

While browsing through the local news looking for a topic to blog about this evening, I ran into something interesting. It is not gun related, or even related to our constitutional rights as Americans. It is news about recent events in Mexico, events serious enough that if they had occurred in Iraq, would have been on the front page of the New York Times.

From the Star Telegram:

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico - Three U.S. citizens from Texas and two Mexican men were kidnapped at a hunting ranch near the U.S. border over the weekend, authorities reported Tuesday.

Witnesses told investigators that 30 to 40 armed men entered the La Barranca ranch late Sunday and took the five men away. The ranch is about 40 miles northwest of Nuevo Laredo.
This is the story that first caught my eye. It was not on the main page of the paper's website, it was just a single line in an "other news" column.

Later, it was reported that a couple of the hostages were released:

LAREDO, Texas - Two of the five men kidnapped in Mexico were released Wednesday, but a prominent Laredo businessman and his son remain hostages, U.S. and Mexican authorities said.

The guests of the ranch were released. That is a good thing and I am hoping that the owner, his son and the ranch cook are also released very soon.

Now comes the interesting part of the story:

The men were abducted Sunday when 30 to 40 armed men stormed the La Barranca hunting ranch in Mexico near the border south of Laredo, authorities said. It's the latest incident in a violence-plagued region where there are at least 20 unresolved cases in the last two years involving kidnapped U.S. citizens.
20 unresolved cases? There are twenty open kidnapping cases in this one area of Mexico that borders the United States, and the news media is not jumping all over the administration to get this resolved and bring those people home safely? If one person gets kidnapped in Iraq, it is all over the evening news. We have pleas from the family and televised candle light vigils at local churches. We have to listen to folks blaming the administration and demanding that something be done right now to get them released. Have we heard anything about the folks that have been kidnapped in Mexico? Why is it that an evil in Iraq is more newsworthy than a similar evil in Mexico?

Have you seen this warning on your local news channel?

In September, U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza warned Americans to stay vigilant when traveling to Mexico and singled out Nuevo Laredo, across the river from Laredo, Texas, as being particularly dangerous. Garza said there were at least 20 unresolved kidnapping cases involving Americans.
How about this news story?

The week Garza issued his warning, armed men went into a Nuevo Laredo hotel and held up 25 people who were going to work for a Texas-based company, assaulting and threatening to kill them.
The fact that border towns in Mexico are dangerous places to visit is nothing new to folks that live near the border. Just as is the fact that fighting or working in Iraq is dangerous. The difference is that every person that is in Iraq knows of the danger involved prior to going there. The same can not be said for the tourist that cross into Mexico on a daily basis. It would seem that a kidnapping of an American citizen in Mexico would be at least as newsworthy as a kidnapping in Iraq.

This in not a commentary on the importance of what our troops and contractors are doing in Iraq. It is a commentary on what the media picks and chooses to force feed us on our evening newscasts.

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