Is Mexico’s University of Veracruz the Most Dangerous in the World?


The University of Veracruz in Mexico might be the most dangerous university in the world, regularly making headlines with incidents of death, deadly disease breakouts, violence and kidnapping over the last few months, the Daily Mail reveals.

A University spokesperson testified that:

"We've had death, plagues of insects, deadly disease, terrible violence."

Veracruz received media attention after several violence-related incidents and murders in the area, with the most recent being the murder of journalist Ruben Espinosa and four women and a violence incident where machete-wielding men injured students at a student party.

Violence started escalating in June, 2015 when 10 masked men carrying baseball bats and machetes went to a student party and severely injured eight guests.

Five of the injured students left the university following the beating incident while five others suddenly disappeared because of death threats they were receiving. Carlos Landa, a Veracruz student, said about the incident:

"The birthday boy had been speaking out against the university's administration, and around here they know exactly how to make you shut up."

The Xalapa municipal police took more than 12 hours to send officers to the crime scene. Local police officials state that the incident is not currently officially under investigation.

In the last two months following the incident, over 20 kidnappings have taken place, including the cases of two professors who have gone missing. Only 16 of the victims returned back alive, with ransoms totaling more than $60,000.

A second-year student, Jose Antonio Castañero, had to engineer a kidnapping victim's return because the police did not want to be involved. Castañero says:

"The police took down the details of the case and finally recommended that we deal directly with the kidnappers and pay the ransom. The kidnappers had demanded the ransom money be deposited in a bank account. They actually gave us the account number and sort code. The police just laughed when we suggested that they could track down the criminals that way."

Apart from incidents of violence, Dengue fever and chikungunya breakouts further worsened the university's image. Since the start of the 2014-15 academic year only 78% of the staff and students returned to the campus after the spate of disease breakouts and violence.

According to the Daily Mail, every student the newspaper contacted knew someone who has been kidnapped. The Houston Chronicle's La Voz de Houston blog states that so far this year, more than 700 deaths have been reported in the area while there are over 250 cases of chikungunya in student dorms at Veracruz.

The disease breakout was the result of poor waste management at the University that caused the infestation of the Aeges Aegypti mosquito and the spread of chikungunya on campus.

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