Looking Into The Homeless In Los Cabos

BY: FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ

While the problem of homeless men living and sleeping on the streets is rampant in American cities and major metropolitan communities of Mexico, the issue is relatively non-existent in Los Cabos, most specifically in Cabo San Lucas.

Of course, much of that has to do with the population of Cabo San Lucas, which is at a meager 81,100 people. By adding San Jose del Cabo, the population is still at a modestly low 287,700. In comparison, when visiting Mexico City, with its populace of 21.2 million citizens, one can easily be assured of encountering homeless men and women by the hundreds. Many of them sleeping in the streets on trash-filled plastic garbage bags in broad daylight. And others still can be seen roaming the streets, wandering from place to place, pleading for change along the way.

Seldom, are tourist visitors of Los Cabos, subjected to the begging for handouts, and cash, from the city's downtrodden vagrants. They are in essence, few and far between. Yes, they exist in Cabo, but not in numbers that would alarm most neighborhoods; least of all the downtown Cabo San Lucas tourist party strip.

A youtube video published and uploaded on March 22, 2013, shows a bucket of soap water being thrown upon a problematic homeless man, within a few yards of El Squid Roe.

"It is worth mentioning that this person is aggressive and likes to damage private property and disturb tourism, so do not feel bad!" states the attached description comment beneath the short 14-second youtube video seen 404 times; titled, "Bathing The Homeless in Cabo."

"Detroit is much scarier and way more dangerous, and if you have ever been to Eureka, California, where Broadway Street looks like a scene from the Walking Dead with all the strung out junkies and homeless people wandering around harassing everybody; Cabo looks like heaven, clean and beautiful and no junkies or homeless people that I saw, a lot of well-dressed tourists from U.S. and Canada mostly, plus normal looking local people," said Candy C on June, 2018 after her visit from Allegan, Michigan.

A New York Times article from September 16, 2017, referenced Los Cabos history, stating, "With the completion of the Transpeninsular Highway in the 1970s and the expansion of the local airport, development exploded — and with it came a rise in migration as Mexicans poured in to work in construction and as chambermaids, bellhops, cooks, waiters, bartenders and landscapers. In 1990, the municipality’s population was about 44,000. By 2015, it had climbed to about 288,000."

When compared with Detroit, or any other American metropolitan city, the homeless situation in Los Cabos is realistically incomparable. Wherefore, the traffic in Cabo has been relatively light for decades, where the weather has been consistently warm and hot year-round for centuries; so too is the homeless dynamic virtually invisible.

Sure, people commented about the homeless guy hitting people up for change on a near-daily basis at the Oxxo located at the PeMex on busy Lazaro Cardenas Blvd, across from Domino's Pizza and near City Club, but his appearances fade in and out and he disappears for weeks at a time.

Another homeless man in Cabo with equal notoriety of The Oxxo guy is Juan Jose from Guadalajara. He sometimes is found at the Telcel Offices, loitering outside and bumming for spare change. When asked about his situation, Juan Jose was vague and mumbling incoherently, as is custom with so many homeless people worldwide who suffer some form of mental disability. Many having been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a litany of other psychological disorders.

The homeless few in the Cabo San Lucas area, tend to eek out their survival in areas outside of the tourist hotel zone. Therefore remaining under the radar and beyond the scope of getting picked up and arrested by local municipal police officers; removing them in order to preserve the integrity of the tourist zone.

The Food and Basic Supplies Distribution Program, known as DIF, provides many families and homeless men and women, who predominantly live in the mountain areas on the outskirts of San Lucas, with paltry items such as bags of rice and beans, tortillas, dried goods and canned food. Some homeless live in rudimentary homes made from sections of torn cardboard, strips of sheet metal, and broken pieces of wood.

The allure of sympathetic tourists does bring some of the homeless out of the woods, where they venture into town and appeal to the more affluent for money, by loitering outside an Oxxo, but all in all, there is no real homeless problem in Los Cabos. Not in the sense of the traditional American former military veterans homeless reality.

There are no homeless in Cabo holding signs at street intersections stating they will work for food or are in need of monetary assistance. There are not enough of them or any of them within the city's Golden Zone, beaches, and hotel tourist area that would cause alarm and have the city up in arms with the business association holding meetings to eradicate the issue.

Instead, they survive in the shadows.

"I have seen a few, here and there. A lot of times it looked like the same guy," said Raul Herrera, originally from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, who is employed at Mango Deck. "And then days go by and I never see him again for a long while."

In a 2018 interview with El Universal newspaper, former president of Mexico, Miguel de la Madrid, who was in office as the 52nd president from 1982-1986, was quoted as saying, “The enemy of Mexico is poverty and inequality.” A statement which can arguably be associated with the world-wide global problem of homelessness and the despair those on the street suffer.

Even while in Cabo, it may not be as evident as some are accustomed to seeing.