Mexico Travel Warning Issued by Government
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning to inform U.S. citizens about the dangers of traveling to Mexico and its current security situation.
The travel warning says that 150,000 Americans cross the border each day and that millions have visited Mexico unharmed. It details the efforts the Mexican government has made to protect visiting U.S. citizens and other tourists and that there is no direct evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have specifically targeted Americans based on their nationality.
Officials made clear that despite the fact that resorts and tourists areas have experienced less violence than the main drug routes running through the country, there is still a clear danger to those who travel in Mexico.
The government says that the TCOs are engaged in territory wars to gain control of drug routes and that although the Mexican government has launched efforts to quell the conflicts, crime and violence still persist throughout the country.
The violence isn't limited to Mexican nationals only, and U.S. citizens have been reported to have been victims of the TCOs through robbery, homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and getting caught in the crossfire of gun battles between competing TCOs.
The most recent figures presented by the Mexican government say that within the first nine months of 2011, 12,903 narcotics-related homicides occurred. While most of the victims were members of a TCO, innocent people have also fallen victim. According to statistics reported to the U.S. Department of State, the number of U.S. citizens murdered in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.
With regards to the most common scenarios that put U.S. citizens in danger when they travel to Mexico, the travel warning outlined where to go travel to avoid crisis and what to do if caught in a potentially deadly situation.
The northern border region of Mexico was listed as especially dangerous, as well as the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán and Nayarit. The government recommended that travel to the listed states be deferred until further notice.
Among other tips provided, it was also strongly advised that travelers maintain a low profile and avoid displaying any wealth that might draw attention.
It was also advised to travel during the day and on toll roads as often as possible, as well as to comply at any government checkpoints-- since the TCOs often create their own unauthorized ones to trap and rob unsuspecting travelers-- and to never resist carjackers since they often kill those who do not comply.