How the Media Misrepresents MexicoNews often tends to focus on the bad rather than the good. In recent years, almost all of the news reported on Mexico, especially in the U.S., has related to the Mexican Drug War and desperate, impoverished people turning to crime to support themselves. Sadly, this is how the media misrepresents Mexico and has made many of us forget what a great country Mexico truly is along with the many great things it offers.

Travel Warnings

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of State issued “do not travel” advisories for the Mexican states of Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Guerrero. The warning is comparable to travel advisories for Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. As of March, nearing spring break, a popular time for travel to Mexico, warnings have spread into locations that were once considered safe and popular resort areas. A security alert warned Americans not to travel to Playa del Carmen which is a popular destination in itself and surrounded by other resort locations such as Cancun and Tulum.

It is true that Mexico is currently struggling with many issues including a drug war, and that some locations in Mexico are dangerous, but the fixation on only these areas is exactly how the media misrepresents Mexico and this situation, the focus often portraying Mexico as much worse off than it is.

As a whole, the U.S. classifies travel to Mexico with the same rank of danger as travel to Germany. It is only specific locations, as mentioned above, that rank higher. That being said, the vast majority of Mexicans are not criminals or dangerous to tourists. They are actually very welcoming and inclusive of visitors. Mexicans honor friendships and family and strive to include those interested in their culture.

A Thriving Mexico

Speaking of culture, it is currently thriving in Mexico, especially at its heart, Mexico City. Although it was once more dangerous, Mexico City has become as safe as any other large urban area, and it’s working on being even safer, including the introduction of train cars specifically for women and children to better prevent sexual harassment.

Mexico City offers a wide variety of restaurants and street vendors serving everything from traditional Mexican cuisine to creative modern dishes, or a combination of the two, making it a foodie paradise.   Art is another growing scene in the city, with independent art galleries and shops showing up in droves. The reason for this cultural and creative boom can most likely be attributed to the steady growth of Mexico’s economy.

Beyond the bustle of city life, Mexicans also care dearly for their county’s beautiful landscapes and environment. Many government policies regarding the environment have been enacted in recent years, including the creation of conservation zones which protect against logging. These protected areas include the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve which consists of approximately 140 thousand acres of butterfly habitat. Thanks to Mexico’s protection, the once diminishing population of Monarchs is now flourishing.

Although Mexico faces many issues regarding crime and drugs, a fixation of reports and stories regarding it is often how the media misrepresents Mexico.  The news on Mexico does not represent its country and people. There are still many wonderful, safe locations in the country with welcoming locals eager to show the real Mexico to visitors. Even with the many struggles it faces, Mexico continues to grow and improve as a nation both economically and culturally. Its people, including the government, work hard to preserve as well as advance these successes.

– Keegan Struble
Photo: Flickr