When I was 11 in Mexico at a market across the border, a man pulled me into a narrow alley and put his hand under my neck, and with a slick a switch blade was against my neck.
“Would you like to buy a switch blade, sonny?” he asked in a thick accent.
“Yep,” I said, excited.
I may have been frightened for a few nanoseconds, but the fright changed into lust for the blade against my throat. It was a switchblade. Switchblades were cool.
I bought it for $5 and later sold it for $25. It was my first arbitrage.
Now, we’re seeing the downside of the price imbalance between two markets. On this side of the border, we have what we consider a normal, acceptably safe life.
On the other side of the border, we see the paradox of how extremely low economic values can create a prohibitively expensive situation.
According to the U.S. State Department, more than 100,000 people go to Mexico during spring break each year. But I think it’s going to be a lot less this year.
Next week, the spring break season starts at the same time the Texas Department of Public Safety issued another warning telling people not to go to Mexico.
has issued warnings about traveling to Mexico. Most Texas college students
The Texas Department of Public Safety another warning this week. The warning has a sentence that I read, and reread.
“Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive.”
The Mexican Drug War now is interfering with Texas college student party plans.
“While drug cartel violence is most severe in northern Mexico, it is prominent in other parts of the country as well,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “Various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S citizens often go unpunished.”
In addition to U.S citizens killed so far this year, preliminary figures show as many as 65 Americans were killed in Mexico in 2010, the DPS said. Kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and carjacking also are threats in parts of Mexico. Suspects have not been prosecuted in many of the cases.
Meanwhile, more than 30,000 Mexican citizens have died in drug-related violence since 2006, and the violence shows no signs of abating, the DPS said.
So, how big is the economic impact? I couldn’t find any studies that gave any real feel. But I sense that the impact is big. Real big.
This doesn’t even begin to address the families that are suffering extended separations because of travel fears. No, the message focuses on the party plans of Texas students. Of course, some students will miss this message because of the traditional bubbles in which they live, oblivious to the world outside. Clueless, they’ll show up, and hopefully, trip naively through the dangers without any harm.
But the majority of students that would normally party in Mexico will party elsewhere. The Mexican businesses that look forward to this welcome money will see more hard times. The flow of money shifts away from Mexico, and makes what has become a nightmare the last four years, worse.