Mexico is said to be a dangerous place, and living close to the border makes it a topic of much discussion around here. There are reports that the drug cartels hold an incredible amount of power and that the police are completely corrupt. 43 students went missing on September 26 while they were on their way to a rally to protest school budget cuts. 28 of their burned bodies were found in a mass grave.
How bad is it in Mexico? It is difficult to say if you do not live there. Statisticians do not trust Mexican government statistics because they contain extreme numeric anomalies. As an example, according to official statistics Mexico had zero extortion cases in 1997 and 1998. In 1999, there were 2,035. Then in 2000, there were zero reported extortion cases again. Some writers like Jared Haftel believe that these anomalies are due to political manipulation, while others think it is merely incompetence and a lack of oversight.
The Los Angeles Times has reported that parts of Mexico are actually under the control of cartels or gangs such as the Zetas. Even some highways are unsafe, with gangs robbing and highjacking carloads of innocent people.
The global coalition known as Transparency International ran a survey that revealed that 91% of the Mexican population believes that the government is corrupt.
According to the testimony of an FBI agent in a Texas trial, former PRI governor of Veracruz named Fidel Herrera accepted bribes from the Zetas in exchange for allowing them to operate with no restrictions.