U.S. State Department issues travel warning to Mexico due to increasing violence

August 28th, 2010 - 2:44 am ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. State Department on Friday issued a Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

After security review in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon - Mexico’s third largest city - following the August 20 shooting in front of the American Foundation School in Monterrey and the high incidence of kidnappings in that area, U.S. government personnel from the Consulate General in Monterrey have been advised that the immediate, practical and reliable way to reduce the security risks for children of U.S. Government personnel is to remove them from the city.

Beginning September 10, the Consulate General in Monterrey will become a partially unaccompanied post with no minor dependents of U.S. government employees.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated July 16 to note the changing security situation in Monterrey.

The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes.

However, crime and violence are serious problems. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.

The State Department is warning U.S. citizens to understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a victim of crime or violence.

The Department is also reminding citizens to take common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.

Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). Mexican DTOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle with each other for control of trafficking routes. In order to prevent and combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops and federal police throughout the country.

U.S. citizens should expect to encounter military and other law enforcement checkpoints when traveling in Mexico and are urged to cooperate fully.

According to published reports, 22,700 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence since 2006. The great majority of those killed have been members of DTOs. However, innocent bystanders have been killed in shootouts between DTOs and Mexican law enforcement or between rival DTOs.

Recent violent attacks and persistent security concerns have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to defer unnecessary travel to Michoacán and Tamaulipas, to parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila.

The authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from U.S. Consulates in the northern Mexico border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros remains in place.

Further detailed information is available at the State Department’s website.

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