Mexico travel: Four headless bodies hung from bridge latest tourist attraction

Forget rock climbing or white water rafting. We can instead have a thrilling vacation by hitting some prime violence-ridden spots in Mexico.

Pristine beach complete with cross in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

Four headless bodies hanging from a bridge on Sunday made for a glorious tourist trap in the sweet town of Cuernavaca, a soothing resort a mere 45 minutes from Mexico City, according to an Associated Press report.

The four men had been recently kidnapped and their mutilated bodies left with a note from a notorious drug kingpin warning folks not to support his competition.

The corpses dangled upside-down from their bound ankles.

Cuernavaca, capital city of the state of Morelos, is also known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” thanks to its balmy clime with a yearlong temperature averaging about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Delicious.

If we go west, young man, we can hit Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, both in the state of Guerrero.

Palm tree in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

We don’t have to go into the beauty or popularity of Acapulco, the TV show “The Love Boat” always did that for us.

Zihauatenejo went one better than TV, meriting a mention as an absolutely dreamy getaway in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” It also boasts an old world charm and lack of view-blocking skyscrapers.

Trek down to any city in the state of Guerrero and we have the added excitement of its numerous carjackings or perhaps ending up like a U.S. citizen from Georgia.

He was found shot dead in his car on the highway between Acapulco and Zihauatenejo. No further details were immediately available, so we have no notion of a motive.

The border region is especially exciting, says the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The U.S. Embassy’s July warning cautions to “defer unnecessary travel to Michoacán and Tamaulipas, to parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila, and to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution.

Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

“More than half of all Americans killed in Mexico in FY 2009 whose deaths were reported to the U.S. Embassy were killed in the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.”

Tool around the entire country and we may get a glimpse of more gang violence.

More than 22,700 people have been killed in slayings related to the drug war since 2006, when measures were stepped-up to combat it.

Some folks may say, pshaw, the drug-related killings only involve those in the trade.

If people are not buying, selling, using or otherwise dabbling in drugs, some note, folks are totally safe while traveling.

We want to believe that. Mexico has so many positive things to offer: pristine beaches, stunning sunsets and sunrises, bright purple jellyfish, wildly colorful art and excellent deals on silver jewelry.

But sometimes the sand of those pristine beaches is pocked with footprints of the armed guards patrolling it at dawn.

Jellyfish in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

At least that should make us feel safer. Or does it?

“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year,” notes the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

“Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.”

Is a pristine beach worth the risk? Send us a postcard and let us know.

[tnipoll]

Groovy beach scene in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

What do you think?

When was the last time you went to Mexico?

Did you have any particularly negative – or positive – experiences?

Are you scared to go to Mexico or is all the hype just a bunch of bull?

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About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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28 Responses to Mexico travel: Four headless bodies hung from bridge latest tourist attraction

  1. Oakland says:

    I have lived in Tucson for about 14 years now. I have only been down to Nogales three times. I refuse to go any further than that. I pay attention to the news and other stories other people have told me, about corruptpolice and other things. Not sure if all the stories are true but I guess I’m not willing to take the chance. Witch in a way is kind of a shame cause I do like learning about other cultures.

    • Rynski says:

      hey oakland,
      i, too, think it’s a cryin’ shame that mexico does not seem so user-friendly, so to speak. i simply adore the climate (well, not the chilly 68 degrees) and the beaches. not to mention some of my coolest jewelry came  from there. very sad.

  2. malcolm kyle says:

    Mexico’s civil war is a product of our failed policy of drug prohibition.
    By its very nature, prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model – the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous and ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved. Thus, the allure of this reliably and lucrative industry, with it’s enormous income potential that consistently outweighs the risks associated with the illegal operations that such a trade entails, will remain with us until we are collectively forced to admit the obvious.

    Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again. Only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are we willing to foolishly risk our own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

    • cochisecitizen says:

      End the drug prohibition? How far do we go? Legalize all of them? Even the extremely addictive heroin?  Cheap and freely available heroin is NOT a good idea, it would result in a huge increase in the number of addicts, destroying their lives. And how would the end of drug prohibition affect the prescription drug industry? If I can walk into any store and buy heroin or cocaine, why can’t I just go into a store and buy some Prozac if I’m feeling depressed? Or some nice Vicodin, OxyContin or Percocet for that pain in my back?
      I would totally support legalizing Marijuana. I smoked it when I was younger and know first hand that it is no more damaging or harmful than alcohol, actually probably less so. But legalizing marijuana would only put a small dent in the cartel’s profits – the big money is in the much more dangerous and profitable cocaine and heroine. And I’ve read that cartels have already taken over some pot growing areas in California. Wouldn’t legalizing marijuana  just encourage the cartels to move more manpower up here and take over domestic production?
      I think that instead of ending the drug prohibition, we should do two things:
      1- Take out the cartels. The US needs to be prepared to send in troops and special op forces to assist the corrupt Mexican Military & Police in taking out the kingpens.
      2- Start an anti-drug campaign that shows the drug users exactly what they’re causing. A graphic video and photo ad campaign showing the headless corpses hung from a bridge, with the end line of” How many more innocent people will be brutalized, tortured and children without fathers to bring you your next line of coke?
      I would sure stop to think about it.

      • fraser007 says:

        In reference to your point #1. (Excellent points too)!
        We should not have to “cross the border”. The Mexican Army and Police could and should be able to take care of the Cartels. If they have the will they can do it. If they can find enough soldiers with the guts and will to kill the Cartel members then they can do it. My son is in Iraq (third tour). The Iraqis have stepped up to the plate and can handle the situation there. ( I pray they can!) He tells me that they are doing it. We have spoken over the three tours about this and we both agree that when the Iraqi Army steps up then he can come home. Its the same for the Mexicans.
        They have the tools and weapons they just need the will to “take out” the Cartels. I am sorry but that means a lot of killing of these Cartels. They wont give up.

      • cochisecitizen says:

        Glad we found something on which we could agree.
        Well, I still think the US needs to consider sending in special operations forces to assist, perhaps in just a couple high profile raids taking out the heads of the cartel. When I read that abduction & torture killing of the mayor of the town outside of Monterrey, and that the arrested 6 policemen including the mayor’s own bodyguard as they were on the take from the cartel and assisted in the kidnapping, it just drove home how wide spread the corruption is. How can the military plan a raid on the cartel, not knowing which officers and how far up are on the take with the cartel?

      • fraser007 says:

        I agree. We have not agreed on much in the past. I dont think we should legalize weed. I have lost friends to drunk drivers. Horrible accidents. So I hate booze too .I had a son hooked on drugs, we and him broke that through love and some great psych. assistance. I have been victimized by drug addicts, my niece had her house shot up with 23 rounds from a Cartel weapon. Almost killed her and her husband. (They were chasing a victim and he hid under their car in the driveway). (Phoenix).
        The thought of legalizing this stuff revolts me. I dont want to loose American soldiers in Mexico. They can do it themselves. We can train them here.
        How long can Mexico survive under these conditions? This is ugly but I would almost hope that the Mexicans would form a unit that would take out the Cartel. Not pretty but a KGB/S.S/S.D. type unit could clean out the Cartels. How much longer will the Mexican people endure. 28,000 dead since 2006. Based on American population levels that would be 84,000 dead Americans if it were happening here.

  3. cochisecitizen says:

    I lived in San Diego in the 80s and used to drive into Mexico, sometimes just down to Tijuana just for the evening for dinner, down the coast on Sundays for the wonderful fresh lobster in fishermen’s houses turned into small cafes. One summer vacation I drove all the way down Baja California to Los Cabos and back. Took my honeymoon in Puerta Vallarta.
    These days, I wouldn’t step foot across the border.

    • Rynski says:

      i remember a family trip to tijuana back in the 80s – we just moseyed on over the border and had a grand ole time. here i recall a leather studded belt and kids selling chewing gum for “10 cents each, two for a quarter.”
      we HAD to pay the quarter!
      i’d go with your assessment, however, and steer clear about now – especially as a family unit with kids.

  4. Alan in Kent WA says:

    I am glad I lived in TOP (The Old Pueblo) when I did, and not have to see this stuff close up.  Instead, we can go to Vancouver BC and see the druggies all strung out for entertainment.  They are alive lifeless bodies, not dead lifeless bodies.

    • Rynski says:

      ha! glad you still get a good fill of druggie culture, alan in kent wa. life just seems so empty without it – hahahahha.
      i’m not sure if the alive lifeless bodies are much better, tho. i remember being quite annoyed by the yellow-eyed ones that skulked around an empty lot in nyc next to my apt bldg.

  5. fraser007 says:

    Loved the travel show today! I was hoping for the pics of the bodies! And not jellyfish.
    I would hope the liberals back east could understand what is going on there.

    • Rynski says:

      hahahah – thanks, fraser007. so glad you enjoyed the show!
      if i weren’t a writer/artist i would for sure be a travel agent.
      sorry i did not have a pic of the dangling bodies to use, but if i do find one, i shall post it just for you.
      c’mon, the jellyfish is kind of fun, no? it can really hurt if you step on it, so it does have an element of danger – hahahahha.

      • fraser007 says:

        Thats Ok you can keep the pics of the bodies. How about you being a travel agent for tours of the killing sites in Mexico! Or just a bus tour of Juarez would be about the same. Isn’t just swell living next to Mexico. All so a bunch of drugged out Americams can smoke weed or sniff cocaine. What a f*****g waste.

      • Rynski says:

        ohhh! travel agent, or tour guide, for killing places would be like a newfangled way to do ghost tours – sometimes before the people are even ghosts (hahaha).
        thanks for laugh!

  6. in the world says:

    I am not scared going to Mexico… I am disgusted and disappointed! I always used to go to Mexico about 10 times a year! It is sad to say that I have not been to Mexico for the past 6 years, why? Because since back then, I started noticing a lot of violence within the drug trade. The town where my parents were born has nothing but drug cartels associated with the Sinaloa cartel. The Zetas have taken over the town now and they pretty much own it. I don’t like Mexico for their rude people, corrupted government, drug cartels, and annoying activist that want citizenship and claim that Arizona is racist… not to mention their president Calderon (which he should not be allowed to step on U.S. Soil until he apologizes to the nation for his comments a couple of months ago). That is the reason that I don’t go to Mexico and I don’t plan to got to Mexico.  Yes, I am a latina and my parents where born in Mexico and legally immigrated to the U.S., and I am very proud to say that I am an American first than Mexican, which = to Mexican-American. I love my country and I serve my country in as much as I can because this is the land that has given me the opportunity to become a good civilized/educated person.

    • Rynski says:

      aww, that is sad, in the world.
      i hate seeing/hearing/watching things deteriorate. my parents both grew up in detroit and that, too, can go on the deterioration list – at least major parts of it can.
      perhaps both mexico and detroit will one day both turn around? we can hope….but i wouldn’t advise holding our breath….
      thanks for comment.

  7. carouser says:

    What it must be like for those few lucky residents of Mexico City who travel outside of the city to get away from it all. Packing up the kiddies and heading to Cuernavaca, only to drive, blissfully unaware, of the decapitated men swaying to and fro from the vibrations of the car.

    All because ‘America’s Barbie’ wants some of Mexico’s good stuff.  Now that’s globalization.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/08/the-mexican-cartel-drug-war-doesnt-want-to-get-in-the-way-of-you-enjoying-the-good-shit/

  8. radmax says:

    Great job of wordsmithing once again! Nicely written article Rynski.
    We used to go to Guaymas and Mazatlan regularly as kids with my parents.
    Lotta great memories of Mexico…as it used to be.
    I thought the people were very friendly! They always had some cordial greetings and goodbyes for us! (psssst, hey Rynski, what does pendejo mean?) 😉
    I used to enjoy headin’ to Puerto Penasco too. Sandy Beach and Cholla Bay, sun surf, scenery…Federales on the beach with automatic weapons… 😉 always a great time! Really!
    Last time I went was the mid 90’s, looks like it actually will be the last time, such a shame. Radmiss was offered a cool sounding three day getaway in Rockypoint, we discussed it at length and decided against it. The sticky point was our inability to carry weapons in Mexico. ( I know,99.9999% of the time they are unnecessary, still…)

    • Rynski says:

      thanks, radmax!
      so cool you have lots of fond mexico memories – and i know what you mean about wanting to be armed (even with the 99.9999999 percent unnecessary odds)….
      i’ve never been to rocky point – heard good things and bad things. if a place has a beach, i’m usually all for it. but maybe a beach in san diego will suffice just fine.
      p.s. how cool! you got kind greetings like pendejo – pendejo means “very nice person we are so glad you came to our lovely country” – hahahhaha.

  9. jim says:

    That was quite a well written article, thank you. It’s refreshing for somebody to even explore the possibility of travel to Mexico at the moment (even if it’s a tad tongue-in-cheek). I’m from the United States and I’ve been living in Mexico City for the past three years. I’ve lived here for the entirety of Calderón’s “War on the Narcos,” and I haven’t had any incidents with cartel-related violence yet. During the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to travel by car throughout much of central Mexico and I’ve never had so much fun road tripping in my life.
    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the border; I fly when I visit the States. I share your concern over the rising violence in central Mexico but tourists aren’t in danger of dismemberment just yet.
    My sister, her husband and their seven-year-old son are coming down from Phoenix in a few weeks and I’m going to take them on a road trip to the state of San Luis Potosí. They haven’t visited Mexico before and I’m really excited to take them to this beautiful little rain forest with world-class waterfalls, caves and turquoise rivers. They’re a bit hesitant about the ‘situation’ but I have no doubt that, with experience, they’ll change their minds about this amazing country.

    • Rynski says:

      hey jim,
      thank you! for compliment – and refreshing to get an alternate point of view from someone who lives in and loves areas of mexico.
      good for you!
      you’ve got me green with envy on the waterfalls, caves and rain forest mentions – especially the caves.
      cool, too, that you are helping your sister and family explore and enjoy the country’s positive offerings. have fun! and stay safe.
      thanks again for input.
      p.s. glad to hear tourists aren’t in for dismemberment yet! haha.

  10. leftfield says:

    Interesting.  All the ideas about dealing with America’s drug problem involve more enforcement.  I even heard about sending American troops into Mexico.  Aside from the fact that Mexico would never agree to this, what makes anyone think that another forty years of an already failed policy is going to improve the situation?

    Perhaps we should realize that we cannot stop the import of drugs so long as the demand is as great as it is and start looking into what’s wrong with us that we consume vast quantities of drugs and what we can do about it.   

    • Rynski says:

      hey leftfield,
      i do like your idea about reasons behind vast consumption of drugs….but that would take some kind of awakening, no? maybe soul searching, self examination, etc. – it’s MUCH  easier to just break out more guns….hahahah

  11. leftfield says:

     maybe soul searching, self examination, etc

    It does sound somewhat un-American, does it not?

  12. leftfield says:

    The whole decapitation thing to intimidate has been popular for some time.  Of course, there was Vlad the Impaler with his variation on the theme and it was popular with the American forces in Vietnam too.  Not as popular as throwing people out of helicopters, of course.  I guess the cartels don’t have helicopters. 

  13. BeSafe says:

    Mexico is a dangerous country to travel to period! A shocking 32% of all non natural deaths of U.S. citizens outside this country happen in Mexico. Many of these deaths take place in resort areas and are a direct result of poor or non existent safety standards. To read tragic Mexico vacation DEATH stories as well as stories written by victims that “survived” their Mexico vacation go to: http://www.MexicoVacationAwareness.com

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