Texas: American citizens have been advised not to travel to Mexico for spring break in the wake of the increased threat posed by drug cartels.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has warned that violence incited by drug cartels poses a significant threat to public safety.
The advisory comes a week after four Americans were kidnapped shortly after crossing the Mexican border.
“We have a duty to inform the public about safety, travel risks and threats,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.
He said, “Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there; we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”
Citizens who still decide to go to Mexico for spring break are encouraged to register their names with an embassy or consulate before they travel, the department added.
“DPS understands many people do travel to Mexico without incident, but the serious risks cannot be ignored,” the agency said in a statement.
It advised people to “carefully research any planned trips” and consider cancelling or postponing any upcoming trips to the country.
The case of missing Americans in Mexico
According to a report by Washington Post, currently, 550 Americans have gone missing in Mexico while over 112,000 Mexican nationals have reportedly disappeared from the country with no explanation.
More recently, three women from Texas went missing in Mexico after they crossed the border last month to sell clothes at a flea market.
The case of these women was brought to the fore after videos of the abduction of four Americans went viral on social media.
The whereabouts of the three women, two sisters and a friend, still remain a mystery with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) saying that they are “aware” that they have gone missing.
Mexican authorities have been accused of their inability to track down foreign nationals in the country.
As per CNN, a report commissioned by the Mexican government blamed its own military and police for the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.
State Department’s travel advisory
The Texas State Department, in its most recent travel advisory, has listed six Mexican states under the “Do Not Travel” category. These states are – Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas.
Meanwhile, 17 states, including Mexico City, have been listed under the “Exercise Increased Caution while Travelling” category due to crime and kidnapping cases.
The advisory also encourages people who decide to travel to the country to “Keep traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend.”
It advises people not to display signs of wealth like expensive watches and jewellery.
Mexican president says country safer than US
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claims that Mexico is safer than US. He said that reports of violence in Mexico are a result of a conspiracy by conservative politicians and US media outlets to smear his administration.
He said, “Mexico is safer than the United States. There is no problem in traveling safely in Mexico.”
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