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 Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud

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Hound Dog
Amigo
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Posts : 195
Join date : 2011-02-21
Location : Ajijic & San Cristóbal de Las Casas

20110625
PostPuerto Vallarta Under a Cloud

Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud



In Dawg´s opinion, Princess Cruise Lines has acted grossly irresponsibly in dropping Puerto Vallarta from its itinerary for the rest of the year..." because of violence there". How extremely unfair. They cite the murder of a Canadian resident of that city as an example but that is an irresponsible statement. Puerto Vallarta is about as safe as you can get. To lump Puerto Vallarta in with places centered in the drug wars such as Acapulco or, perhaps Lazaro Cárdenas is totally unfair and a disgrace. My wife just returned from a trip to Puerto Vallarta by herself and I felt perfectly at ease with that decision and worried not a bit about her being there alone. Yet, as a precautionary move, we cancelled our plans to drive to Lake Chapala from Chiapas via the coastal route from Acapulco through Zihuataneajo with a few days in Los Troncones, Guerrero because things seemed a bit dicey there at the present time so we don´t have our heads in the clouds. We´ll do that trip later and our personal decision hurt no one except that hotelier in Los Troncones. Princess Lines has certain social responsibilities as well as its obligation to turn a profit for its shareholders. Managements´ decision there is beyond vacuous.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 09:28 by JimRP
Right you are, Dawg! If they eliminated port calls in every city where a foreign tourist has been killed in the past year, they would have few ports to visit. The US State Department's figures for last year tell the story eloquently: 8 million US citizen visits to Mexico, 1 million permanent residents in Mexico, 111 deaths. The notion that tourists are in danger in Mexico simply isn't supported by the facts. And as you said, PV of all places--absurd!

Jim
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 10:06 by cheenagringo
Dawg:
As you well know: one has to follow the money for the real answer. The cruise industry happens to be suffering financially brought on by the combined effects of the economy and an overabundance of ships. Low priced deals are now the norm to "fill the ships". In view of the fact that the NOB press has done such a great job of trashing Mexico as a whole, I would speculate that the cruise lines have experienced a declining interest in Mexico cruises and the violence has simply provided an excuse for some cruise lines to cease operating ships or cruises that they were having trouble filling with passengers willing to pay full price.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 10:10 by Hound Dog
JimRP wrote:
Right you are, Dawg! If they eliminated port calls in every city where a foreign tourist has been killed in the past year, they would have few ports to visit. The US State Department's figures for last year tell the story eloquently: 8 million US citizen visits to Mexico, 1 million permanent residents in Mexico, 111 deaths. The notion that tourists are in danger in Mexico simply isn't supported by the facts. And as you said, PV of all places--absurd!

Jim

Actually, Jim; they would be left without a single port of call and would have to sail about endlessly until their demise in a random whirlpool. By that time at least half of the old farts inclined to buy into these mindless cruises would have died of old age and and have been buried at sea and the remainder would be too drunk to anticipate their imminent expiration in the whirlpool. The last time I was on a cruise ship it was on the Queen Mary in 1966 and that was a cruise ship with a take off point and a destination (Southampton to New York City - five days). I can´t imagine a reason to sit on a cruise ship endlessly touring about, say, the Caribbean or Pacific Mexico stopping in various tourist traps to be herded about like sheep and screwed by every merchant zeroing in on us and with nothing to do between ports of call except drink and eat too much and gain 50 pounds.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 10:18 by Hound Dog
cheenagringo wrote:
Dawg:
As you well know: one has to follow the money for the real answer. The cruise industry happens to be suffering financially brought on by the combined effects of the economy and an overabundance of ships. Low priced deals are now the norm to "fill the ships". In view of the fact that the NOB press has done such a great job of trashing Mexico as a whole, I would speculate that the cruise lines have experienced a declining interest in Mexico cruises and the violence has simply provided an excuse for some cruise lines to cease operating ships or cruises that they were having trouble filling with passengers willing to pay full price.

Well said, Neil. That mirrors my comment on the Chapala Informational Board. Why didn´t they simply say that during these troubled economic times demand was down and so they were cutting back on ports of call to save docking fees and such. In order to cover their asses they blamed Puerto Vallarta, as unlikely a villain as ever existed. Maybe the next thing is they will do is blame residential front doors for the reason people leave home and get run over in the street.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 18:27 by Peter
Puerto Vallarta says it's safe, despite Princess canceling calls

http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/24/6935004-puerto-vallarta-says-its-safe-despite-princess-canceling-calls
Quote :
Princess Cruises canceled its calls in Puerto Vallarta on three Sapphire Princess sailings: Nov. 19, Dec. 10 and Dec. 31. "Our security department continues to monitor the actions taking place in specific areas of Mexico. As the safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and based on the continued violence in these areas, we've made the decision to cancel our calls to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan," the cruise line said in a statement.

Those departures will instead include a two-day call in Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico.

In April, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning that outlined areas throughout Mexico where there have been reports of crime and violence. For the state of Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta is located in Jalisco), the State Department said that official U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the cities of Colotlan and Yahualica in Jalisco, "because of an increasingly volatile security situation."

It also stated that "border areas between Jalisco state and the states of Zacatecas and Michoacan, as well as in or near the cities of Tepic and Xalisco, Nayarit have been sites of violence and crime involving TCOs. You should exercise extreme caution when traveling in these areas." (TCOs stand for transnational criminal organizations.) However, there was no mention of Puerto Vallarta in the State Department’s travel warning.

The Puerto Vallarta tourism board said in a statement that it was "sorry to learn of Princess Cruises’ recent decision," but referred to a recent security assessment study conducted by security consulting firm Thomas Dale & Associates, which found that the number of negative events involving foreigners or non-foreigners in Puerto Vallarta is fractional compared to the millions of visitors that vacation in Puerto Vallarta annually.

The study also found that visitors to the destination feel safe and continue to visit Puerto Vallarta repeatedly.

The Puerto Vallarta tourism board said that despite Princess’ decision it "looks forward to welcoming Princess Cruises and its passengers to Puerto Vallarta again in 2012."
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 19:03 by cheenagringo
While I believe that PV is being made a scapegoat for Priness Cruise Lines decision to leave the market, let's not kid ourselves that PV is totally without some issues of their own. I read enough Mexican newspapers to get an understanding of various incidents that have happened there and I do periodically poke my nose in on the PB Board. There seems to be a prevailing wisdom that if we deny, it did not really happen. Sure there is a lengthy thread on the subject of this Canadian being killed and certain parties get real defensive when lesser incidents are brought up. Don't get me wrong because on a 1 to 10 scale, they might be a 2 but I do not feel that it is being honest when they either deny or attempt to minimize. Then again, there are many more members on that forum who have a vested financial interest in what happens in PV.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 20:47 by Peter
You are typically being bombarded by the US press, that propoganda organ for US politics, let's be honest. While you seek out Mexico news I expect the typical American is more aware of incidents in Mexico than he is of those that occur in his state capital. If someone in Mexico throws a wet fart the US reads about it.

Princess Cruises could have been more honest and say the popularity for Mexican cruises in general has fallen off because of violent incidences reported in Mexico and that it is a matter of economics, instead they cite dangers to their passengers.

It really is not an attempt for any of us to minimize things here or pretend it doesn't happen, the truth of the matter is if not for the media and being plugged into the internet most of us would have no clue it happens at all. If there is an incident somewhere the police respond, do their thing, then the town cleans it up - just like something that would happen after a traffic accident. Someone who drives by an hour later would never know anything had occurred.

I am sure violent attacks occur in Albuquerque that most folks that live there are completely unaware of. It is not big news, a wet fart in Mexico is. It is not to say that if I don't see it then it doesn't happen, it just does not effect my life. If not for the internet I would never know about most of this. El Chango's capture was big news and on TV, though for most people it really is not something that amounts to a hill of beans to them. Honestly, if I never turned on the news or got on the internet I would never know any of this happens.

The only thing that has occurred that I would have known about is the 2008 bombing, and only because my friend and neighbor was a block-and-a-half away and told me about it. That incident stands out because of the intensity of it, that some police authorities were implicated in the matter, yet the media widely blames it on the drug cartels. It really was very un-typical of the narco groups' mode of operation. Much speculation by the locals that the government staged it to gain favor for their Drug War.

Your line about our denial of these things is becoming offensive. We are aware of much of this, we do not deny it occurs, but if the media and people on the internet that pay attention to the media didn't tell us about it, it just doesn't impact our daily lives here. We heed the media warnings and stay alert to possible dangers that could break-out, but truth is it just does not impact us. Our FIFA U-17 World Cup games at the stadium here in Morelia had no incidences of any kind - at that was last weekend when all hell was breaking loose in the press. I attended two festivals recently and the Doors concert a couple months ago, zip, nada. Sorry, no bodies.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 22:10 by cheenagringo
Since my comments were specific to the PV topic, I can hardly see why they would be offensive to you. From my track record on various forums, my history speaks for itself in that I rarely post any links to any articles from the NOB press and my judgements are not formulated from anything published NOB. In the case of Jalisco and PV, I read a minimum of four different Jalisco based news organizations every day and so I may have a decent grasp of what may be going on in PV.

I happen to be a realist and within that virtue, I believe in educating myself to the best of my ability before making hopefully educated decisions on what we may or may not choose to do in Mexico. Towards that end, I admit to being "somewhat anal" about searching out information. I admit to having been somewhat casual in my approach until I received a multiple wake up call about my casual nature. The first incident was when one of our business associates was randomly cut down in a crossfire between the military and cartel henchmen (?) in the City of Monterrey. I am fairly certain that this particular person had absolutely no involvement with the drug trade or the cartels. The second wake up call came with another business associate, a Gringo with 15 years experience living in Mexico, who was truck jacked when returning from Laredo to Michoacan. This incident happened on a Sunday morning on the cuota outside of Monterrey. Not only did he go through the trauma of the incident but it also took him months to resolve the issues with the stolen truck but also the hassle of replacing things like his stolen laptop with company records etc. He has since told me that he will never drive to the Texas border again!

I can remember when Mazatlan resident members of another forum were in denial of any problems in Mazatlan. The Mexican news has since proven this to be untrue and funny thing, these same members are no longer posting how safe that Mazatlan is. Sure they post a couple of fluff pieces but they are hardly enough to overcome the bad press from the Mexican media.

I follow a number of the Lake Chapala area forums and constantly see where some member provides advice to some single female driving into Mexico for the first time about just how safe it is for them to make the crossing from Laredo or some other point along that portion of the Texas border. In my estimation, that is totally irresponsible but what the hell, the person on the other end is a faceless entity. If they are injured or even worse killed in their endeavor the person who gave them the advice will probably never know!
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 23:46 by Peter
Although I know people who drive between here and the border fairly regularly I don't care to do it myself. I made the drive down here once but don't ever plan on doing it again. My travels have been severely limited this year. The last big trip I made was to Zihuatanejo last December. Since then I have left Morelia three times going once to Pátzcuaro, to Zinepecuaro, and to Capula.

I have some fear of getting caught in a a blockade, most likely getting caught in the back-up of traffic for hours, very remote chance I would become personally involved at ground-zero of such an event, but mostly of getting caught in one of those checkpoints because of my California plates and having some cop demanding something I may not have under threat of impounding and towing my vehicle and having to cough-up some outrageous mordida. Worse than that not having the patience to deal with the bastard and causing an escalating confrontation.

Having caught Mendez (El Chango) the other day in a checkpoint outside Aguascalientes I'm concerned that they feel further empowered to be jerks. I have gotten first-hand reports from people encountering both friendly cops and real jerks. Fortunately I have encountered neither this year but have severely limited my travels for that reason.

It comes down to some chance of losing my vehicle to either a cartel blockage or a police checkpoint. I consider it a much, much greater likelihood having a bad encounter with the police. That could happen in any part of Mexico. It's the main reason I have not visited lakeside this year yet.

Those are my actual fears. As regards the violence that occurs in the news I understand why people play it down, unless you spend time on the road it is like these things just do not occur, it doesn't disrupt our routine or appear in our neighborhoods. I am completely convinced the Drug War is a contrived affair with a dark agenda to restrict our movement and get us accustomed to intrusions on our privacy. Nothing to do with stopping drug traffic but controlling it for profit. It has completely corrupted our politicians and law enforcement and enriched and empowered the criminal side. There is virtually no distinction between the two and that is not just in Mexico but true to a greater or lesser extent globally.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sun 26 Jun 2011, 00:52 by JimRP
Quote :
There seems to be a prevailing wisdom that if we deny, it did not really happen.... Then again, there are many more members on that forum who have a vested financial interest in what happens in PV.

Neil, I do feel you are careful with the facts and are one of the good guys. I also know you intended to refer to PV and not to Morelia. However, I can imagine how Pete might have reacted (though of course I don't speak for him). I reacted a bit the same way.

The phrases above have often been hurled at folks around here who prefer not to talk obsessively about the violence. I wonder where those phrases came from because they are used almost verbatim by a number of posters. As such they have become trite trigger phrases and moreover are unfair generalizations.

I'm writing about this at some length, not because I feel offended, but to explain my viewpoint.

To start with, among whom is there a prevailing wisdom, and do we know it is prevailing? Also, has anyone done a study to see what percent of the people who don't like negative posts actually have direct financial motives? Take me. I have zero direct financial interest in what happens in Morelia. I read the news voraciously, and have a pretty good network of Mexican acquaintances, and often know about Mexican on Mexican violence that I don't post about. I know it happened, but I consider it irrelevant to our personal safety. I don't feel that is complacency, and as badly as I feel about incidents like those that affected your colleagues, I don't know that some extra board postings would have saved them.

To be clear, gun battles in the streets and the like should be reported--simple, straight-forward, the facts. But spare me the opinion that the sky is falling, Mexico is a failed state, the narcos are taking over everything, and that everyone should remain at home and fear for their lives. This is not just harmless nattering that I can ignore (which I do). It helps to spread fear, to scare people NOB from coming to Mexico, and to drive people already in Mexico back NOB. It is just as loathsome to me as the bias of the US press. Moreover, I live in Mexico because I LIKE Mexico. So when it is trashed unfairly, I take offense.

You speak about people who give bad advice on the boards that may get people killed. If that does happen, I place most of the blame on the person seeking the advice. Knowing you, I can't imagine you'd listen to only one person you don't know without vetting and checking his advice against multiple sources. Too many people are willing to accept anything they read on the internet regarding legal, medical, tax, accounting, real estate or other matters as gospel. God help them.

Jim
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sun 26 Jun 2011, 11:59 by Peter
I suppose after a couple years of Crusty saying and doing the same I get touchy about that. I've never been to PV but I don't imagine their expats to be much different there than in the way we regard "the troubles" here. Although PV is a tourist resort town I expect that very largest percentage of their expat residents are "Rentista" living off their pensions and not involved in the tourist trade. If we are not afraid to walk out our front door we are "ostriches." If I don't post a running body count I am hiding something. Let the US residents post that, I won't censor it, they are much more aware of those things going on than I am.

Gawd, if I spend the day on the patio drinking beer in the afternoon sun plucking on my guitar and singing songs I am irresponsibly dismissing the abhorrent violence tearing at the fabric of society as it collapses around me. I am stating my view because I imagine those in PV experience the same.

Better, blame me for not seeking out and posting information about the cultural events and concerts in the plazas going on in my own town. I am as blissfully ignorant about those events. I know they happen, I know they are going on regularly and in much greater numbers than the narco-violence occurrences going on in the entire state. That is the main reason I was posting to all the local boards looking for moderators/columnists, there are others here much more in-tune to these events than I am and they would be performing a much welcomed service for expat the community here, as well as putting a feather in their own cap.

Likewise if Crusty wanted to moderate a body-count forum, I would make her a forum just for that. Why not? Some people want to read that stuff, know how far the blood sqirted. Fine, report it, no one would accuse me of sweeping it under the rug then. My interest is more in putting a stop to it. That's what I write about, coming up with palatable solutions that will end this.

People love to curse the darkness, they have an obsession with things that go bump in the night. If I offer them a candle they villify me over creating a fire danger. Fine, huddle-up and shiver in the cold and obscurity or deal with it. I have no sympathy for Prohibitionists who reap the ill havest of the seeds they have sown. Tyrannical policy leads to violent ends? Gee, who'd a thunk it?

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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sun 26 Jun 2011, 13:10 by cheenagringo
Now that I have been properly and adequately chastised, I have seen the light and the error of my ways! The plug has been inserted and I will keep my opinions to myself from this point forward.

Peter:
I never addressed your question about Albuquerque. This is a very strange city in that literally everything that happens here makes the news. On the other hand, you are lucky to hear about anything that happens elsewhere. I believe the term is provincial. From a crime standpoint, there isn't anything to be proud of. While we happen to live in a very calm and relatively crime free area, there are parts of the city where I can be apprehensive about traveling during the daylight hours and definitely not after dark. We have a police force that is currently out of control with way too many officer involved shooting and officers posting very negative things on Facebook and such. For example, one officer was just caught making a statement on one of the social websites defining his occupation as: human waste disposal. While we live a nice life here, I am enough of a realist to understand the limitations.

You also raised the issue of being concerned about the Mexican Police and Military. In 10+ years of traveling Mexico, I can honestly say that any contact that we have had with all of the various police agencies and the Mexican Military have been nothing short of courteous. Both Kathy and I have been pulled over a few times and have never been hit up for mordida and also have never been issued a ticket. With all of our travels, I am guessing that we have gone through no less than 100 checkpoints of all flavors and never been ill treated. Probably the worst treatment we have ever experienced was a number of years back when we were headed out of Mexico with a fully loaded minivan and got stopped at a AFI checkpoint. In fact, we didn't even know who the AFI was at the time. Three agents, the one assigned to the engine compartment and undercarriage was a real jerk but easy to ignore. Another agent insisted on unpacking boxes out of the real door. My concern was that he was going to pull everything out and me not being able to get it all back in just right. After about 5 boxes of household goods, he had enough and then surprised me when he insisted on helping me get everything back in. The third agent stood off to the side with his weapon at the ready. Based upon all of these experiences, I think that I would rather deal with them than a member of the Albuquerque Police Dept., an experience that I have never had.
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Re: Puerto Vallarta Under a Cloud
Post on Sun 26 Jun 2011, 14:39 by Peter
Yourselves and I are fortunate in not having had bad experiences with the checkpoints. I can assure you that there have been plenty of others that report worse. Most of these are old retired types more mainstream than myself. Maybe it is just my sparkling attitude that prompts their courtesy and kindness. I have had an experience or two that started out very authoritarian on their part but as my documents and visa pass their standards the attitude becomes much more relaxed.

Fortunately I don't get my vehicle loaded-down except occasionally on some local shopping spree. the checkpoints I have been hearing about over the past two months have typically not been going well for anyone like me that has their US car here. The police even now do not seem to know tha law regarding our temporary export regulations and insist on making things difficult. In light of this I have chosen to stay close to home and not leave Morelia as they have those checkpoints entering and leaving the cities. Foreign plates is an instant target. It is not the cartels or the violence that concern me but the other downside aspect of Prohibition, intrusive authorities.

Your next trip you will have a rental car. You should expect no problems.
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