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With no quick and easy English translation for all this drama, a large population of concerned American and Canadian expatriates were left to speculate on their own about who these sicarios might have been. “They must have been local drug dealers catering to the tourist market,” one gringo said. “I can’t believe they were connected to the drug gangs on the mainland.” With only one highway — a thousand miles long — to the border at Tijuana and a military checkpoint every 150 miles, it would seem foolish to use Los Cabos as a staging point for drug smuggling.

It’s difficult to say yet what effect these balaceras will have on the coming tourist season. “Well, the gringos come looking for drugs and prostitutes,” one Mexican said, “and that’s what San Lucas offers them.” Perhaps that is true of Cabo San Lucas. But the municipality of Los Cabos (really, more like a county in the United States) is made up of several towns, including San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and a long tourist corridor in between that consists of fine beachfront hotels. Except for San Lucas, which caters to the party crowd, those other communities have prospered by maintaining a reputation as safe and secure family destinations.

There are perhaps two positive conclusions one may draw from this unfortunate incident: One, the Mexican people are fed up with the narcos and the government officials who protect them. Many honest and hardworking people in Los Cabos depend on tourism. Here they have achieved an economic status that is hard to acquire elsewhere in Mexico, and they are not going to surrender their livelihoods without a fight. And, two, if the narcos think they can operate in Los Cabos with impunity, they might be mistaken. Because, at least in this case, the military made it clear they were prepared to hunt down the narcos and kill them.

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Comments

SanDiegoParrothead Nov. 9, 2011 @ 2:24 p.m.

Three weeks ago, when my cousin from Philly was visiting, I told her the only placed I'd go to in Mexico was Cabo.

Looks like that won't be happening now ...

Nice knowing you Mexico

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Visduh Nov. 9, 2011 @ 8:34 p.m.

We have fond memories of trips long ago at Thanksgiving to Los Cabos and La Paz. (How peaceful is "the peace" now?) But I haven't crossed the border into Mexico in years, and don't intend to. It will take a bunch of convincing to make me want to head south again.

This is an excellent article that makes no attempt to sweep the systemic problems of Mexico under the rug. But regardless of the cause, I'm not interested in combat tourism. The country seems headed down the road of a failed state, i.e. one that cannot control its own territory. We've seen another failed state in action for the past two decades and the prospect isn't a happy one. I'm referring to Somalia, where bandits rule small fiefdoms, famine is endemic, desperate people have turned to piracy as a way to make a living and nothing very good ever happens. Is this the final result of Mexico's ingrained corruption and oligarchical rule?

Oh, I forgot, it is the fault of the US, and "our" appetite for all kinds of illicit drugs from grass to cocaine. Mea culpa.

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