I have a dilemma here, a subject on which I would like your feedback.
I’ve been invited to be a guest at a comic convention this summer in Mexico City. I love Mexico and its people. I’m a notorious foodie, and Mexico has the finest, most varied and oldest complex cuisine in the world. My family and I have done extensive travel around various parts of Mexico and lived in Mexico City for most of a year while making Conan the Destroyer. We have had incredible times in Mexico.
Sadly, since those visits, Mexico (especially in recent years) has become a very dangerous place to visit. Kidnapping has become a cottage industry in Mexico City. My friends who still live there warn me not to return, even for a quick visit. The teen son of friends of friends was kidnapped. After the ransom was paid, the kidnappers left their son’s body for them in an abandoned car. Yes; after they paid the ransom.
I live in Los Angeles and have spent some extended periods of time in New York. I know that folks outside these cities consider them to be very dangerous. I don’t. Having lived in both places, I know where the bad neighborhoods are and avoid them. No reasonable person would judge all of L. A. solely from a visit to a bad stretch of Compton or New York from a visit to the worst parts of Harlem (to Harvey Kurtzman’s horror, Harlem was the first place I visited in New York; I found it wonderful). The news loves heinous crimes (“If it bleeds, it leads”), so that’s often what gets reported — not the nice things that happen in those cities on a daily basis. This makes me wonder if my newly established fears of visiting Mexico are perhaps a bit exaggerated and unfounded.
I’d be taking my wife, a beautiful blonde who surprisingly (to the Mexican natives, anyway) speaks fluent Spanish. We have been in one extremely scary situation (with the Mexican police in Merida; another story for another time) in the past, but my wife and I consider that an aberration, especially considering the wealth of positive experiences and people we have encountered throughout Mexico.
I hate the thought of giving in to the Mexican criminals and allowing them to control where I can and can’t visit — or who their own people can or can’t see and meet. It is not in my nature to succumb to that type of bullying; it’s more natural to me to defy and stand up to it.
Of course, if I’m a guest and there is any publicity in that regard at all, that could easily make me (or my wife) a potential target.
As you can see, I am conflicted here. What do you think? Give in to a somewhat reasonable fear or take the risk on behalf of my fans down there?