San Miguel de Allende Has Not Fallen Prey to Mexico Crime Gangs, says Mayor

The Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende hasn’t fallen prey to organized crime, the mayor said in response to a Bloomberg News story about drug cartels extorting small businesses there.

Two recent murders, of a restaurateur gunned down in front of customers and the son of the owner of a construction-materials business shot and killed on his way to work, “unfortunately took place in San Miguel but don’t represent the everyday life and good social environment in this town,” the mayor, Luis Alberto Villarreal, said in a letter.

Villarreal said San Miguel is not one of the tourist destinations that are, as the story said, losing their perceived immunity from the drug wars that have ravaged much of Mexico. Any impression that it is, he said, is “fed by the gossip and opinions of very few residents.”

The mayor didn’t respond to requests for comment before the story was published.

The local chapter of business chamber Consejo Coordinador Empresarial also wrote to challenge some elements of the story, saying none of its members have complained about an increase in criminal activity or shakedowns by cartels.

At the same time, the local chapter president, Jose Torres, said in the letter that “it’s correct to say there’s been an increase in the use and influx of drugs in our town” and that the murders were likely “directly or indirectly related to drug trafficking.”

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San Miguel, a few hour’s drive from Mexico City, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular with tourists and expatriates. The population of 160,000 includes by some estimates as many as 10,000 expats, mostly Americans and Canadians, who live there at least part-time.

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Source: bloomberg

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