I have relatives that are from that area and wanted to visit with them but I don't know the area and had a few questions
1. How safe is it?
2. Who controls it?
3. If problems arise who are the local authorities and are they trustworthy or just are they in pockets of local/regional crime syndicates
4. Have there been any problems in the area between competing criminal groups that may put the family in harms way or is it relatively calm
I haven't seen a lot of Salvatierra in the news or on the internet that tells me to stay away but wanted a little more info as I literally know nothing of my families home town and state and would love to visit and find out more about where my family comes from. But I also don't want to go in completely blind to the problems that may arise. Any general info would be greatly appreciated.
I was just there in Dec in Acambaro, where my pops is from. It's about 30 mins from Salvatierra. Also went to balneario in Araro. Anyways, everything seemed pretty quiet, I was able to walk around no problems. When I talked to my relatives there, all was good didn't hear about cartel activity at all. Just run of the mill petty crime and drug dealers/users (like any larger city).
In terms of who runs it? I heard it was the cops, but their crooked which I heard MANY times. They arrested one of my cousins, fined him, impounded his truck and extorted the crap out of him to get it back. So I wouldn't be to flashy and keep your hat on straight.
Safest way to get there would be the tollway. We took the one from Guadalajara to Guanajuato, took about 2 1/2 hours to get there. Smooth sailing all the way, but expensive. There was like 4 tolls, some as high $10 USD.
As for hearing about any troubles, my personal view is that if its not in the papers, probably didn't happen. Haven't heard much from GTO in general and just being there this past Dec on vacation. I would generally say if you don't go looking for trouble and want to go out and have a good time, you should be fine.
I live about 2 hours from Salvatierra. I've visited the "Pueblo Mágico" several times in the last few years.
Just last week I was in Yuriria, another Pueblo Mágico, which sits on a man-made lake about 20 minutes west of Salvatierra. I used to go through Salvatierra every six months on my trips to the border, but I now take the toll road that goes from Salamanca to Querétaro, without going by Salvatierra.
I love this area of Guanajuato, often called "El Bajío," since it sits in the valley of the Rio Lerma River, which runs from outside Mexico City to Lake Chapala in Jalisco.
The area consists of productive farmland and is generally very peaceful. I follow news a bit from the area, and there's not a lot of narco news coming out from there.
Having said that, it's not far from the border with Michoacán. There have been violent narco related incidents just to the south, closer to Acámbaro and the Mich border, presumably involving the CT.
Organized crime in the area tends to concentrate more to west, around Moroleón, very close to the Michoacán border, and also in the area further west where GTO, Mich. and Jalisco states come together.
Moroleón is a big textile center and La Familia and CT are involved in extortion in that area.
To the northeast sits Querétaro. The only big narco news coming from that area lately was the arrest of "El H" in late 2014, but that's because the city is thought of as a "safe zone." There were some big seizures in the last few years in QRO that were probably linked to Los Zetas, moving in from SLP and Hidalgo.
But Salvatierra should be peaceful. But just be careful, as you always should be when in Mexico, and don't do any driving, especially outside town, at night.
In general, the state of Guanajuato is less corrupt than most Mexican states, and I believe that applies to security forces as well.
Here's a new site I use when looking for news in southern Guanajuato:
I haven't been to the interior of Mexico in a long time but I do have family in the Celaya area and try to keep up with the narco news in the region. Guanajuato in general is relatively safe and has calmed down following some years of sporadic violence. Cartel activity tends to be concentrated along the east-west highway 45 (Leon, Silao, Irapuato, Salamanca, Celaya). At one point the corridor was being taken over by Los Zetas until the emergence of La Familia Michoacana, which pushed them more towards Leon and gained control of the highway and areas to the south, such as Salvatierra. When Los Caballeros Templarios emerged, there was violence as the area was contested and LFM was pushed out. With the collapse of CT, there has been some violence from the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, but generally in the Leon area. I wouldn't be too worried about getting caught up in a cartel war in the Salvatierra area as it appears things are stable and/or uncontested.