Watch out for Mexico, warns US State Department – TravelMole true

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Watch out for Mexico, warns US State Department

Saturday, 16 Mar, 2010 0

With at least 50 people killed in drug violence last weekend just before spring break gets underway at US colleges, the State Department has issued a warning: stay away from some areas of the country.
 

Another three people with ties to the American consulate were killed in a drug-plagued Mexican city, including a US couple shot to death with their baby in their back seat, officials said. The baby survived.
 

“While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including tens of thousands who cross the land border daily for study, tourism or business and nearly 1 million US citizens who live in Mexico), violence in the country has increased,” said the State Department.
 

The warnings particularly cited Ciudad Juarez, though no alert was issued to resort areas such as Acapulco which have also had drug-related slayings.
 

The deadly attacks prompted the US Embassy to urge American citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua, three north-central Mexican states struggling with drug-related violence.
 

Earlier, the State Department had already authorized family members of US consulate employees to leave six northern Mexican cities—Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, and Matamoros. That warning is in effect until April 12.
 

“It is imperative that US citizens understand the risks in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations and who to contact if victimized,” said the warning. It added:
 

“Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.”
 

It says some recent confrontations between Mexican authorities and drug cartel members "have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades."
 

Mexican police have been especially targeted in the drug gang violence that has made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world, with more than 2,500 people killed last year alone.
 

As if to illustrate the almost military strength of the drug cartels, Mexican marines and Navy personnel announced they had launched a raid against an operations base run by the Zeta drug gang near the northern industrial city of Monterrey.
 

By David Wilkening
 

 

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