By Eric Jason Baron

Kidnappings have always been a major issue in Mexico. However, since Felipe Calderón, the current president of Mexico was elected in 2006, it has gotten worse. Even though kidnappings are mostly an issue in Mexico and other countries around Central America, some cases have occurred in Arizona during the past years. Crime in Mexico has gone up by almost fifteen percent in 2011. This is a response from the drug cartels to Felipe Calderón and the Federal Government who are trying to fight them. Trying to fight cartels is very complicated since authorities are sometimes part of them, too. Calderón is the first President that is trying to do this and trying to end a long lasting corrupt government in Mexico. Numbers of reported abductions keep going up every day, especially in Mexico City and in El Estado de Mexico. Statistics show children and young adults are usually more targeted for kidnappings. Tourists and wealthy businessmen come after.

There are three common types of kidnappings in Mexico. The first one is abduction of children. Kidnapping children can be done in either a sophisticated way or in a non- sophisticated manner.  A sophisticated technique is when members of a gang follow families for a long time to know their daily routine and then abduct the child. Once the child is abducted, they ask for ransom in return. Non-sophisticated techniques are employed through the use of public transportation and taxi cabs. Something that is becoming more common is the use of taxi-cabs to kidnap children. The most common one out of the three would be express kidnappings. Lately, kidnappings have become more organized and professional whereas before most abductions were made by gangs and small groups of delinquents. It consists in abducting someone, and then taking something valuable from them, credit cards, jewelry, cellular phones, and etcetera. Kidnapping for ransom would be the last one. Well organized gangs are usually the ones to kidnap for ransom. Most targeted people for this type are wealthy families who can afford to pay ransom to rescue the person that has been abducted. A 13-person gang who used taxis in order to kidnap people was caught earlier in September. They did express kidnappings and also kidnappings for ransom.

There have been thousands of kidnappings in Mexico during the past years. One of the most famous ones is the Rubén Omar Romano one. Romano is the coach for one of the most important professional soccer clubs in Mexico. He was found sixty-five days after his abduction in a “casa de seguridad”, this is the name for the house kidnappers used to keep their victims so that no one can find them. One of the kidnappers that was arrested happened to be the same one that had participated in the kidnapping in 2002 of Laura Zapata, the sister of a famous singer in Mexico, Thalía. Romano was found by the AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (Federal Investigations Agency). The AFI deals with most of the kidnappings for ransom that happen in Mexico. Another example would be the abduction of the mayor of a city outside Monterrey on August, 2010. He devoted his life to fighting drug cartels. He was tortured and killed after he was kidnapped.

People in Mexico have attempted to stop violence in many ways. More rigid sentences for delinquents are an example of one of them. Songs by famous singers like Ricardo Arjona’s “La nena”, based on a true story about his niece who was abducted, and books like Jayne Valesca’s “We have your husband” are also examples of people’s attempts to stop this. Her book is based on the true story of her husband who was also kidnapped. Some scholars predict violence in Mexico, especially abductions, will continue to rise until Calderón gives up the fight against drug cartels.