“Mérida is a tranquil place.” It’s a place where “no pasa nada (nothing happens),” the residents enjoy saying, but this headline from today’s edition of the Diario de Yucatán, one of the major newspapers of the city, seems to suggest that things may be changing.
No, we are not under military alert, nor have we hired armed guards to follow us around the city. And yes, children still do play in the park down the street, and many enjoy evening strolls along the avenues. But what many once thought was impossible here is now becoming somewhat routine.
Let me give you a run-down of the events.
- January 13th: Police officers and suspects trade fire in the Gran Plaza, a popular shopping center. Officers would later confiscate an AK-47 rifle from those charged in the shootout.
- January 14th: A homicide, thought at first to be an assassination attempt, puts the city on edge. Later investigation makes the husband the principal suspect.
- February 1st: A bomb explodes near the home of the the Secretary’s of Police home in Monte Albán (one neighborhood north of the site of our previous house).
- February 2nd: Citizens of Mérida take to the streets to denounce the escalating crime in a “March for Peace.”
- February 3rd: Meridians receive a report of the assassination of one officer and the wounding of three others in the west of Mérida.
- February 3rd: Ivonne Ortega, governor of the state of Yucatán declares that the the assassination was the result of new measures to “step on the toes” of criminals in Mérida and was an unrelated incident in the new wave of violence.
- February 4th: In what some are saying was a violent reaction to the words of the governor, a resident of Progresso, apparently involved in the drug trade, is found decapitated in a house in Garcia Ginerés (our dentist has his office in this neighborhood.)
Again, I’m not writing this post to alarm you, only to show you the current state of events here in Mérida and ask you to pray. Sure, we’d like to see Mérida return to the sleepy city that it once was, but we would also like to see this wake up call to the police become a wake up call to non-believers and Christians alike.
This world that we live in is broken, and increased security can’t fix it. Only the message of forgiveness of Jesus and a restored relationship with God can, and only a unified, mobilized church, reaching out to it’s community can bring this message.
Pray for peace, but pray for the lasting peace that only salvation can bring.
Photos are from www.yucatan.com.mx. You may also read the special section detailing these events in Spanish.