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Mexico boasts preparedness in hijacking

While Wednesday's stand-off may have heightened safety concerns, it revealed little in the way of lax security practices.

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Is Mexico safe?

Sometimes it seems like a resounding "no." Wednesday's hijacking here comes on top of a US travel advisory warning of "large firefights," drug traffickers with a penchant for beheading, and a year of headlines ranging from a grenade explosion in a public plaza to a state-wide, police station shootout.

The hijacking – from the American-friendly resort town of Cancun, no less – significantly heightened the perception of danger, but revealed little in the way of lax security – at the airport or otherwise – in Mexico. While Mexico has experienced many episodes that provoked questions about its safety, Wednesday's dramatic stand-off will not be one of them, many say.

"This is going to be inconsequential – ultimately a non-event," says Stephen Meiners, a Latin America analyst at the global intelligence company Stratfor. "[The hijacker] didn't manage to breach the cockpit, no one seemed to be scared, he did not get any kind of weapons on board. He was never a risk to anyone on the plane."

Hijacker motivated by religion

The hijacker, a Bolivian national named José Flores, appears to have been working alone. He was neither motivated by money nor politics, but a religious zeal that he said inspired him to threaten to blow up the Aeromexico jetliner if Mexican President Felipe Calderón did not speak with him.


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