7 Reasons to Pray for Mexico

by Jim on 1 January 2014

The graphic below shows 7 reasons why we need to pray for Mexico – and why Mexico needs to be reached.  These are more statistical items that you may or may not see in the news.

As I compiled the list, I was reminded again of how complex these issues are.  Please read below the graphic for more information about each point.  (These are not listed in order of importance)

7 Reasons to Pray for Mexico

1) Broken Families

Dysfunctional families, men with “other families”, family violence, divorce, and abuse.
Nearly 1/2 of all women in Mexico have experienced violent treatment from a partner.

The last stat there comes from the US Department of State 2012 Human Rights Report.  It’s difficult to overestimate how widespread these problems are and how devastating they are to the community.

2) Corruption

Mexico is considered one of the two most corrupt countries in Latin America.  In July 2013, an estimated 71% of Mexicans felt that corruption had grown worse in the past year.
People are particularly concerned about corruption among police and political parties.

This is another issue that affects practically every area of life in Mexico.  These stats from Transparency International.

3) Drug War

Although not just about drugs, the war between police, soldiers and drug cartels makes Mexico one of the world’s hot spots.  Several hundred were killed each month in the fighting in 2013 according to recent stats, making this war easily comparable with ongoing armed conflicts elsewhere world, including Iraq and Syria.
Over the past 5 years Mexico has also been one of the 10 most dangerous countries for journalists.

This is one of the most complex issues, and probably brings about more misunderstanding than any other.

The war between police, soldiers, and cartels is one of the most serious in the world.  However, reliable statistics are very hard to come by.  Which deaths, disappearances, and kidnappings are related to the war, and which are not?

In spite of the seriousness of the conflict, murder rates in Mexico are actually quite low compared to many other countries.  You’re going to be safer in Mexico (assuming you’re not selling drugs!) than in many places in the USA or Canada.  In fact, you’re more likely to die in a plane crash on the way than be murdered in Mexico.

If you remove killings related to the conflict, Mexico actually becomes ever safer.  The state we live in is also one of the safest.

So for those directly involved, or caught in the crossfire (usually in particularly dangerous areas), the conflict is very serious and must have the world’s attention.  But in general, Mexico remains much much safer than countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Also, remember that this is not just a “drug” war, but involves illegal trade in other things, including human beings (see below).

You’ll see articles saying that the situation in Mexico has been overblown (true – we don’t suffer the collapse of infrastructure that many countries such have suffered, the violence is in certain areas not in others, the overall murder rate is low), and articles saying that we’re ignoring a serious problem (also true – again, this is one of the more serious ongoing armed conflicts in the world.  Hundreds dead every month right here in North America is horrific.)  Both are true.  Is Mexico safe to visit?  If you come to the right areas, yes.  Should we pray for Mexico?  You bet.

I’ve drawn from many sources here, but you can read about danger to journalists in various countries here.  An article about the ongoing fighting this year here.

4) Economy / Taxation

Economic challenges were felt in most countries in 2013, and Mexico was no exception.  In 2013, the government aggressively raised taxes and fees in many areas that will be felt by every citizen.
The minimum wage in Mexico is less than 11% what it is in the rest of North America.

It’s not my intention to get into a lot of politics here, but there’s no doubt that taxes and fees have been raised all over the place in 2012 and 2013.  This one has impacted us and will continue to, with drastic increases to fees we need to pay as foreigners for paperwork (ie visas), and a raise in fees that will impact every Mexican (food, transportation, etc).  People who are struggling already are being hit hard.

The information about taxation has been all over the news (although the reporting does not seem to me to be balanced).  For minimum wage information I used this chart by Lisa Mahapatra.

5) Kidnappings

Kidnappings in Mexico were probably the highest in 2013 in recorded history, and Mexico is #1 in the world.
It is estimated that a kidnapping happens in Mexico every 5 minutes.

Again, particularly in areas hardest hit by the drug war.  For statistics, see the Justice in Mexico Project.

6) Religious Persecution

Religious persecution has been on the rise in the past few years.  Families have experienced violence, loss of livelihood, loss of access to water, electricity and their homes, imprisonment, and fines.  In some cases children have been turned away from school because of religious belief.

This is another one that has been going on for years, but seems to be increasing.  Although there is less violence in our area, thankfully, you still pay a price if you choose to follow the Lord Jesus.

Particularly helpful information can be found at the 2013 briefing for Mexico from Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

7) Slavery / Human Trafficking

Estimates usually range from tens of thousands to half a million victims of slavery in Mexico.  Forced labour and prostitution are common, among both adults and children.  Many slaves are used for sex tourism or are shipped north.

Estimates vary wildly on this one for two reasons, I think.  First, because it’s a secret underground problem that you don’t see.  But second because there are different ways to define “slavery” and “human trafficking”.  That’s why you hear terms such as “slave-like conditions”.

But it’s not only a problem that probably impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands in Mexico, it’s also a growing problem.  Slaves being kept in Mexico or sold in other countries is a way for organized crime to diversify.  And as one reporter noted, you can only sell cocaine once.

I checked a lot of sources for this one, but you can get started at The Global Slavery Index 2013, the CNN Freedom Project, Free the Slaves, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and Human Trafficking Around the World.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Grandma C. February 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Horrific situations! Lord, please have mercy on people in Mexico and change the hearts of those who are committing horrible crimes. Please make the numbers of murders, kidnapping, drug war killing and slavery go down instead of up.

Give grace to all the Christians who are being seriously persecuted for their faith. And open many more pairs of eyes to the Truth about the Gospel.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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