Don't want to get all dramatic & paranoid, but something has definitely changed in this town just in the last year.
I've been passing through Matehuala for nearly 2 decades now, but this rustic country outpost never changes much. Not until now & just since I was here just a year ago.
It looks like someone spent a lot of money giving all the public spaces a major rennovation. There are a lot more police here & not your average police either. These guys are heavily armed with full body armor & black combat helmets. They cruise around in police trucks that have huge machine guns mounted on the roofs & they have a new building that looks expensive & modern.
When I was walking into town earlier from the bus station I saw these dudes with their heads shaved prison-style but they were driving big black & shiny SUVs. Sorta creeped me out a little.
There's never really been much graffiti in this town, but now it looks like every other building has gang tags.
I just got my hair cut by the old fellow I like to visit every time I pass through. I mentioned the changes & new observations. He said, with a very serious look, that there is BIG money here & that I should watch my back & be very careful. I asked him about all the new wealth & hardcore police & he said it's all narcotraficante & cartels all over the area. I asked if it was safer out in the desert pueblos. He said it's even more dangerous out there where I'm going because all the police are all in town.
He might be exaggerating or watching too much TV, but I think I'll keep my head down & a low profile until I get more info. Wouldn't want to be mistaken for a journalist or anything. Yikes! I'm sitting here with a camera tapping away all this writing to post. That's likely not wise. Think I'll wrap it up & keep movin' while I'm ahead. ;)
Most likely just too much TV & that I was sitting in a plaza near a new club watching women who looked like prostitutes walk by with young folks dressed in hard core gang-style clothing on a Saturday night. Maybe it's just the style & Matehuala has enjoyed some recent economic prosperity, but something seems suspicious & doesn't quite fit. Will get more info in the desert & update in a few days when I get access again.
Time to head out to the desert & get back to work on my story:
Wish me suerte! (luck)