It seems that those idyllic villages outside Merida are no longer as peaceful and safe as they were. Drugs and drug gangs are in control now and people are afraid to come out of their houses.
In a village about an hour outside of Merida, things are dire. Young men who have grown up there are corrupted by drug gangs and commit crimes against their fellow villagers.
Last week, a woman in her 40s was raped and robbed by boys who she had watched grow up. Six months ago, a young woman was assaulted by a group of young men and was hospitalized. There are home invasion robberies regularly.
In this village, the police are afraid of the gang. Gang members have physically assaulted and injured local officers, according to the young woman who told us about all this. And on the occasions where they do make arrests, the charges are downplayed and the families bail them out almost immediately.
We are going to be keeping our ears open for more information about this. It is a terrible thing for the people in the villages to be locked into their houses, afraid to go anywhere, and having to fear people they have known for a long time.