Violence in Mexico affect schools, families, even campus community
As the continued violence in Mexico begins to draw closer to home, students from both sides of the border are also affected.
For some students, the violence has made it difficult to visit family in Mexico and has turned what was once a routine trip into a gamble for their lives.
“It’s keeping us away from our family, our friends and from the lives we used to know,” said Arianna Martinez, a UH alumni who graduated in 2009.
“It’s been a struggle because we want to be with our family, but at the same time you begin to think about all the things that could happen if you go to Mexico.”
For Martinez, the violence in Mexico hit close to home last August when her brother-in-law was kidnapped after a gunfire battle in Monterrey, Mexico.
Martinez’s brother-in-law, a bodyguard for one of the CEO’s of the Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, was mistaken for a drug cartel member and was kidnapped along with another bodyguard. Martinez’s brother-in-law was off duty at the time.
Two days later, Martinez’s brother-in-law was found.
“He was in a car stranded in one of the neighborhoods along with the other bodyguards,” Martinez said. “He was pretty beaten up and was in the hospital for five days.”
Martinez’s brother-in-law regained his health and has begun the process of applying for a residency in the US, in part to be away from the violence and to rejoin his wife and baby girl.
Mexicans attempting to leave the violence behind have applied for asylum. According to the US Department of Justice, in 2010 there were 3,231 asylum requests from Mexican nationals, but only 49 percent of them were granted.
The violence in Mexico has no restrictions or boundaries and has found itself on the doorsteps of the Monterrey Institute of Technology, a prestigious private university in Monterrey.
Last March two students from the university, Javier Arredondo and Jorge Antonio Mercado, were killed when they were caught between the crossfire of Mexican drug cartel hitmen and the Mexican army, the Monterrey Institute of Technology said in a statement last year.
“The violence has changed me in that now I am more careful,” said Jacobo Gómez, a mechanical engineer sophomore at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. “I avoid going to known dangerous areas and luckily I have yet to come face-to-face with any violence.”
Gómez can also count on the increased security measures the institute has implemented.
“The university has made several safety tips programs,” Gómez said. “It has also increased security personnel, and put a new system at the entrance where you can only enter by scanning your university credentials.”
The violence in Mexico has been ongoing for a couple of years now and has left some residents jaded.
“There are so many reports on shootings, deaths and road blockages that I’ve noticed people see it as a common thing now,” Gómez said. “That’s not to say that we get accustomed to living with violence, but we hear it so often that the news begins to all sound the same after a while.”