It’s similar to the beginning of a bad action movie, or, for those involved, a horror story: In northeastern Mexico, four Americans were kidnapped on Friday by armed men, probably members of a cartel. The kidnappers believed that the Americans were Haitian drug smugglers, so it appeared to be a case of mistaken identity.
According to reports, the four Americans—Latavia “Tay” Washington McGee, Zindell Brown, Shaeed Woodard, and a man by the name of Eric—were in the border town of Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, for McGee’s medical procedure. The Americans were said to have been “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men” after the gunmen fired at them, according to the FBI.
Two of the victims have been found dead, according to authorities, and two survivors, one of whom is severely injured, have been found at what appears to be a medical clinic in the border city of Matamoros, according to US officials who spoke with CNN.
There is still a lot to learn about this story, but the State Department has a “Level 4: Due to “crime and kidnapping,” a “Do Not Travel” advisory has been issued for Tamaulipas. However, Matamoros is just across the United States border from the Rio Grande Valley; Every year, the bridge connecting Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros is used by nearly five million people.
The tragic outcomes of these victims also bring to light the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans annually travel abroad for medical care, many of them to Mexico, for procedures like root canals, in vitro fertilization, and cosmetic procedures that are frequently less expensive south of the border. Additionally, the widespread criminalization of abortion in the southern United States has driven women to Mexico in search of secure abortion services.
The fact that “medical tourism” exists speaks volumes about the limitations and high costs of American healthcare.
It is also unclear how many Americans actually read or even pay attention to the travel warnings issued by the State Department, especially when traveling to a neighboring nation that is also a popular tourist destination. Here, it’s simple to blame the victim. However, the four Americans who were abducted were going about their daily routine in the same way that many other US citizens do.
However, moving through a region dominated by cartels and awash in their violence was something that frequently results in the deaths of innocent Mexicans. In fact, the shootout that followed this appalling kidnapping resulted in the death of one innocent Mexican bystander.
Even the shockingly high murder rate in Tamaulipas is probably underreported. The cartels frequently murder journalists or law enforcement personnel who even attempt to obtain a body count and then disappear without being identified. There is a lot of corruption, and controlling the cartels has been nearly impossible. There are simply thousands of Mexicans missing in Tamaulipas alone.
In spite of this truly awful and tragic kidnapping, the majority of Americans do leave Mexico unharmed when they travel to Mexican beaches for spring break or to enjoy the culinary and cultural delights of Mexico City, Oaxaca, and so many other parts of this extraordinary nation. This privilege is not available to the millions of people without a US passport who live in Mexico and several Central American nations that are similarly dangerous.
For the vast majority of those individuals – who, similar to you and I and the groups of the four seized Americans just need to protect themselves and their friends and family – Matamoros has been a jail, where refuge searchers have been kept right over the stream from the US, and where they have confronted unavoidable savagery: Extortion, kidnapping, and murder.
Simultaneously as Americans have turned our eyes toward our kinsmen and their experience, President Joe Biden is supposed to consider a re-visitation of the Trump organization’s draconian enemy of settler strategies, which would consider the detainment of travelers who entered the US without legitimate documentation, trailed by their quick ejection.
The vast majority of asylum seekers would not be able to qualify for safe harbor in the United States under a second proposal from Biden. In the meantime, the same cartels that terrorize their neighbors are also making money from drug production and smuggling, profiting from the addiction crisis in the United States and contributing to it. They keep their power by using violence that is made possible by America, and they do this by arming themselves to the teeth with guns that they get from America’s lax gun laws: Many of the guns used in crimes in Mexico came from the United States, and the Mexican government says that half a million guns come into Mexico every year from the United States.
A number of Republicans have used the specter of illegal drugs and widespread violence to hammer Biden and attempt to prevent migrants from entering the country, despite the fact that the substance abuse epidemic is destroying lives on both sides of the border. Millions of innocent people are trapped as a result: On one side, there are the violent domestic cartels, some of which are armed with American firearms and partly funded by American drug dollars; On the other hand, there is an America that denies entry to innocent people trying to flee the cartels in Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Let’s be honest: Many of these migrants, including those who are carrying children, are fleeing the same violence that is currently engulfing innocent Americans. Many of these migrants, including children, will be brought back to the circumstances that have already resulted in the deaths of two Americans. Additionally, Mexicans bear the brunt of violence perpetrated by Mexican cartels; Salvadorans populate El Salvador, Hondurans populate Honduras, and so forth. The majority of Americans who visit are spared.
It is absolutely necessary for these innocent Americans to receive justice. Be that as it may, their lives are not all the more intrinsically important in light of their visas. They deserved better than the millions of people whose homes have become hellish and who arrive at America’s borders in search of the same level of safety as our fellow citizens. Their tragic end ought to serve as a reminder that everyone has the right to live peacefully and raise their children.
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