Skip to comments.A mayor’s plea over Tijuana’s tarnished image
Posted on 09/26/2010 4:57:49 AM PDT by South40
TIJUANA The words from Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos this week contrasted sharply with his usual promotion of cross-border goodwill: In the United States, they celebrate every death that is announced in Tijuana. They celebrate it so that the money stays there, he said. California real estate developers celebrate when things go badly in Tijuana so that people buy houses over there.
Ramos has a history of reaching out to U.S. officials, and he continues to maintain a good relationship with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. But on Monday at the opening of Tijuanas new police command center, Ramos struck a defensive, almost adversarial tone.
He told the audience that Tijuana has enough outside enemies. He pleaded with those from inside to refrain from publicly voicing doubts and negativity that could destroy the citys efforts to curb drug-related violence and restore economic stability.
Lets wash our dirty linen at home, Ramos said in Spanish. Im not saying there shouldnt be criticism, but lets have a single external strategy.
His remarks touched on the sensitivity felt by many in Baja Californias tourism sector about their regions international image.
The industrys hotels, restaurants, shop owners and streetside vendors all are struggling to recover from deep losses that stem from the Great Recession, long border waits tied to stiffer security measures and turf battles between drug traffickers.
While some heard a painful grain of truth in Ramos comments, others shrugged them off as rhetoric.
He was defending Tijuanas image at all costs, without taking into account the significance of his words, said Miguel Angel Torres, editor of the daily newspaper El Sol and president of the Association of Tijuana Journalists.
Jorge DGaray, a public relations consultant who has advised municipal and state leaders, cast Ramos statements as an empty political speech. Hes trying to come across as a strong mayor.
Fernando Otañez, president of the Business Coordinating Council in Tijuana, also stresses that San Diego and Tijuana are a single economic region.
For San Diego businesses, its convenient that things go well for us, said Otañez, who heads his familys real estate firm in Tijuana. Ramos perhaps is expressing some frustration, but this is definitely not the feeling of the business sector.
On Avenida Revolución, Tijuanas main tourist strip, businessman Jack Doron said he identifies with Ramos assessment.
Doron, who serves as president of the merchants group Ceturmex, said numerous foreign customers who come to buy his embroidered blouses and tablecloths tell him that they had received warnings against traveling to Mexico.
Some hotels (in California) tell them not to come, that its dangerous, but they still come, Doron said.
Brian Flock, a U.S. real estate broker who has sold properties in Baja California and San Diego County, said he has never heard of Mexico being considered a significant competitor for housing in San Diego County.
Still, Flock concluded, the Tijuana mayors pointed words have resonance. Ramos comments may be populist, but that is a sentiment of most people in the tourist area.
Ramos remarks also echoed somewhat the complaints of Baja Californias political leaders about news coverage, which they feel is overly focused on crime and ignores a multitude of accomplishments. Journalists in Tijuana have been urged to change their tone, and authorities have turned to U.S. public relations firms to market their theme of progress to the U.S. media.
My impression is that the press goes over and over the same story, said Carlos Bustamante, the mayor-elect of Tijuana.
In neighboring Rosarito Beach, Mayor Hugo Torres said Ramos probably was feeling hurt because of the perception of insecurity when he has done so much work, Torres said.
Torres often has criticized U.S. media for what he believes is a penchant for sensationalizing violence in Baja California, and for what he sees as a lack of distinction between the dynamics in Rosarito and other parts of Mexico. We are tired of this permanent information exaggeration and not recognizing U.S. problems in some regions, he said.
Just days after warning of American antagonists, Ramos was once again celebrating binational ties during a conference of border mayors in San Diego on Thursday.
Tijuana and San Diego are one region, he said. Were a single city, and anything good that happens in San Diego is also for the good of Tijuana.
Note to Mayor Ramos, Your country is a corrupt, third-world pisshole that is dangerous for citizens and foreigners alike. Until that changes your city will forever have the tarnished image it presently has and richly deserves.
mexico trys very hard to present a civilized view of themselves to the world, especially to SA...they try the Hispanic thing over and over. In reality mexicans are detested by most Latins. I hear it all the time.
Tijuana’s always been a dump. Sorry.
San Diego is a gorgeous city. Tijuana is a dump.
I've taken many trips south of the border over the years but I refuse to go anymore. Partly because of the dangers posed to Americans (more than half Americans killed in MX in 2009 were killed in border towns) and partly because I refuse to spend my tourist dollars in a country that is complicit in the exploitation of America and her tax-paying citizenry.
There are parts of San Diego where you can't tell the difference.
Well, I would love to move to San Diego. Just too hard to find a job.
Beside, those “areas” probably have some good authentic Mexican food. :)
Yeah, its those evil American hotels to blame for telling guests to not to go into TJ. Tijuana is completely safe, its just a Anglo conspiracy. </end sarcasm>
1) Tijuana off-limits to U.S. Marines
Tijuana saw its bloodiest year ever in 2008 with 843 killings, compared with 337 the previous year.
2) Brutal killings of 4 American tourists in Tijuana sow fear in California
3) Drug war surges in Tijuana: 24 dead in 2 days
We are witnessing a war between drug traffickers, said Rommel Moreno Manjarrez, Baja Californias attorney general.
To put it into perspective, Iraq and Afghanistan are safer for Americans than Mexico.
I view Mexico as I do the MSM, until they clean up their act, no Pesos. All the rest is just wind. Adios.