El Codo's Michoacan Travel Advisory

Coat of arms of MichoacanAfter recently visiting Michoacan and talking with friends and neighbors (all Mexicanos), I have come to the conclusion that travel in the state is inadvisable due to the strife between the LCT (Los Caballeros Templarios), the Rurales, the authentic cops, SSP and military authorities, and the utterly corrupt state and local police. Tourist cars have been carjacked outside the sancturio mariposas, Uruapan, Tzintzuntzan, and north of Caleta de Campos on Mex 200. Tourist pedestrians have been robbed at gunpoint during daylight outside the Parque Nacional Paricutin and on a side street in Villa Escalante /Sta Clara del Cobre.

The rurales and feds cannot be everywhere at once. Petty criminals move into the vacuum and take advantage of it. When local police get a telephone call about robbery or violence, they all pile into a car and go the opposite direction.

My recent stay in Michoacan was all too short (I flew down courtesy of a friend of a friend in their Cessna Skyknight to Zihuatenejo and stayed a week). What I saw and what I heard breaks my heart. Chiapas late 1995 was nothing compared to the citizen uneasiness I saw in Michoacan on this trip. It is disturbing. The place is a powder keg.

3 Responses to “El Codo's Michoacan Travel Advisory”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. -El Codo- says:

    I might add that “tourist” does not imply “extraneous”. There are Mexican tourists as well. But one hijacking of a Canadian couple’s new pickup truck out from under their 5th wheel near Tzintzuntzan, and another Canadian’s encounter with a one-car lightning strike roadblock just north of Caleta de Campos, on Mex 200 the coast highway, cannot be ignored, either. In that particular incident, an armed robber forced a motorhome owner to decouple a newer Jeep four door, and they drove off. In October, armed “pirates” swarmed aboard an anchored cruising sailboat in the cove at Caleta de Campos and robbed electronics, and an expensive inflatable dinghy and motor before departing. The crew had boarded up the cmpanionway and was not assaulted. Nor were the Canadians in the two land incidents.

    This stuff needs to calm down before I would recommend travel in the state. The tension between the federal government and the “Self-Defense” Groups makes for total concentration on the wrong points in my humble opinion. Los Caballeros Templarios are the breakaway armed wing of the old La Familia Michoacana. Exactly the same as what happened within the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas.

    Also the cost of limones, is due to a grower’s protest, and not to a disease or some government manufactured fairy tale. One of the best presidents in the history of Mexico IMO Lazaro Cardenas, must be spinning in his grave.

    Also since the PRI took office and promises were made to reduce the death rate in Mexico, it has, instead, shot up, sharply. No tourists are involved in violence never mind fatalities, but I do not expect to see the PRI survive this. Mexico will, and my heart is with “la gente”. And take not my comments about a higher death toll as some kind of fear mongering or alarmism, the overwhelming majority of Mexico remains safe for tourism.

  2. Lorena says:

    Thanks for this safety update señor Codo.

    Michoacan has always been a state to be extra careful in.

    Some of our earliest ‘adventures’ in Mexico in the early 70s involved being in the wrong place at the wrong time in Michoacan. However, it is also one of the most beautiful states in Mexico, and has a remarkable number artisans and craft centers. So it has also been among our favorite place.

    Unfortunately the daily news on the Mexican websites that Carl reads support your conclusions. Our advise is travel with special caution until the situation has stablized.

  3. -El Codo- says:

    Since my earliest days in Michoacan, village X tended to told a grudge against neighboring village Y over some stupid land or water rights feud. Since the latest rising of the rurales, the festering friction has surfaced in the form of armed groups confronting one another — thank god gunplay is usually not involved. But it makes for a nightmare situation in which the Hatfields are standing off Versus the McCoys only the local and state cops are crookeder than snot. So are the presidentes of the municipios, the county-like areas, and city officials.

    Now all of this headache starting bizarre confrontation really does not filter down to the tourist level. But what does happen is the vacuum between “hot spots” is prime territory for petty crooks. Not AK gun toting assassins, but snot-nosed ladrones that move in and take advantage of a “cop-free” environment. I’ve talked to a couple of victims and both remarked the crooks were so nervous they stuttered and their hands were shaking.

    I felt pretty safe driving an uncoveted model of car, while wearing a hidden money pouch carrying a dummy wallet. Inside the wallet in the banknote section I carry I folded note with large letters

    MONEYGRAM 2113579654082117 $8,500 pesos

    Only 220 pesos in the phoney wallet? The note says it all.