Posted: Jan 26, 2012 5:42 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2012 7:35 PM
Information released by the Mexican government says the drug war is claiming fewer lives. We went to find people who live in Mexico and Americans who cross the border regularly. We wanted to know if their experiences are consistent with this information.
People are waiting for the bus in Starr County. It's the second bus they'll take on an international trip from Michoacán to Indianapolis.
"I come here to work," the man says.
He's been coming to the United States to work since 1986. He's a resident with a workers permit. His wife is a Mexican national. They have a home and a life in Mexico, a life that's changed so much since they started building it.
"When I got married 25 years ago, Mexico was peaceful. We were not scared of anybody getting killed, but now a lot of people are getting killed," he says.
We'll call this couple Francisco and Maria. Cartel danger across the border is the reason why everyone we spoke to at this bus stop asked us to conceal their identities.
"We wish Mexico was peaceful, but that's going to take some time," says Francisco.
A report released by the Mexican government says the drug war is claiming fewer lives. It says, "2011 is the first year that has seen a significant decrease in homicides as compared to previous years."
From 2010 to 2011, the government reports an 11 percent increase in drug war-related deaths. Compare that to a 70 percent increase in the previous year, a 63 percent increase from 2008 to 2009 and a 110 percent increase from 2007 to 2008.
The Mexican government is also reporting 70 percent of the deaths are bad guys on bad guys. One man says he agrees with those statistics. He crosses the border to Monterrey regularly.
"I see a lot of police, more prepared, more federals. The local police ain't that good, but feds are better," he says.
Another man from Houston is married to a Mexican national. His wife lives in Mexico. He crosses regularly and says fewer deaths aren't enough to take his fears away.
"Makes me feel sad because when go there, you are looking around to see if someone is going to get you," he says. "There's no tranquility."
Francisco and Maria say tranquility can't be restored until peace is back.
"But thanks to the government things are getting better," says Francisco.
Still, they too say things are getting better. It offers a glimmer of hope to the people whose lives have been turned upside down by cartel violence.