U.S. issues travel warning to 5 Mexican states

Glen Norman
January 12, 2018

10 to USA citizens for five Mexican states affected by high levels of violent crime.

Overall, the country received a Level 2 rating, which urges Americans to "exercise increased caution" and notes that "violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread".

The State Department has created a color-coded map of Mexico that breaks down each state with warnings specific to those areas.

This is an improvement for Quintana Roo, as the State Department last summer issued a travel warning for the state due to "turf battles between criminal groups that have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by US citizens".

US Advises Citizens: Avoid Visiting These Five Mexican States

While not addressing the latest warnings directly, the government's Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement that "Mexico's major global tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions", apparently a reference to major resorts like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco. In the US, it was five. Personal travel by land and to the resort city of Acapulco had already been prohibited.

Tamaulipas has always been riven by turf wars between rival drug cartels, and Sinaloa is home to the cartel of the same name. Michoacan was so dominated by a drug cartel that vigilantes took up arms in 2013 to drive them out.

Preliminary figures suggest that Mexico had a record number of murders in 2017.

The U.S. government did note its employees are allowed to go to the seaside city of Manzanillo, Colima.

The state of Baja California Sur, which has seen a rise in violence because of an ongoing territorial dispute between the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels, retained a Level 2 "exercise increased caution" classification.

While high-profile killings in certain hot spots have gotten media attention, Mexico's homicide rate is actually closer to the middle of the pack than the top, compared to other nations in the hemisphere.

The violence also spread to some popular tourist areas past year, like Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico's southeast that had several resort areas, and 134 homicides were registered in the state until August 2017.

The MTB said the new system is an improvement based on its organization and simplicity, and noted that the State Department "confirmed that major global tourist destinations in Mexico are safe" and have no travel restrictions.

"We are going to keep working very hard in 2018 to make sure that Los Cabos continues as a safe destination", said Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

"I'm guessing they are breathing a sigh of relief", he said.

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