Travel Alert in Mexico Violence Along The U.S.-Mexico Border has escalated
The State Department has reissued a travel for Mexico until Oct. 15.
The travel alert was set to expire on today, but was extended Monday afternoon due to security "situations" in Mexico.
"The Travel Alert for Mexico issued today (Monday) reflects the current reality in Mexico, including the increased violence on the U.S. Mexico border," said, Tony Garza, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, in a prepared statement.
"The Travel Alert does not advise Americans to avoid travel to any region or city...However, it is also important for people to be aware of the risks they may face so they can plan accordingly and remain attentive to their surroundings," Garza states.
Although Mexican citizens are the victims of armed robberies and carjackings in Mexico, the "uncertainty of the situation" poses a risk to U.S. citizens as well, the alert states.
The alert also states criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana, "there is no evidence, however, U.S. citizens are targeted because of their nationality."
Garza had indicated earlier this month that the travel alert would be reissued.
The travel alert initially issued in October by the State Department warned U.S. citizens to be cautious when going to Mexico. The alert was issued because of ongoing drug violence along the Mexico border.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
This information is current as of today, Tue Apr 15 2008 06:08:32 GMT-0700 (Mexico Standard Time 2).
This Travel Alert updates information for U.S. citizens on security situations in Mexico that may affect their activities while in that country. This supersedes the Travel Alert for Mexico dated October 24, 2007, and expires on October 15, 2008.
Violence Along The U.S.-Mexico Border
Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists. However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In its effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens are urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.
Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades. Confrontations have taken place in numerous towns and cities in northern Mexico, including Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California, and Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua. The situation in northern Mexico remains very fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there cannot be predicted.
Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007. Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas.
Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles.
U.S. citizens are urged to be especially alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region. While Mexican citizens overwhelmingly are the victims of these crimes, this uncertain security situation poses risks for U.S. citizens as well. Thousands of U.S. citizens cross the border safely each day, exercising common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas of border towns during daylight hours. It is strongly recommended that travelers avoid areas where prostitution and drug dealing occur.
Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles, particularly in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana. There is no evidence, however, that U.S. citizens are targeted because of their nationality.
U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the consular section of the nearest U.S. consulate or Embassy for advice and assistance.
Crime and Violence in Mexico