U.S. Department of State Warns Against Travel to Mexico22 Jan 2014
Many foreign nationals travel to Mexico to apply for visas at the U.S. consulates there. Mexico is also a popular tourist destination for U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals who reside in the United States. However, a Travel Warning recently issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) may cause travelers to rethink any plans of venturing into Mexico.
Background: DOS Travel Warnings
The DOS monitors country conditions throughout the world and, from time to time, issues travel alerts and travel warnings to advise U.S. citizens of potential hazards wherever they exist. While the information provided by the DOS is not made with foreign nationals in mind, all travelers should carefully consider these recommendations. The MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Consular Closings Update and Travel Warnings (15.Aug.2013) provides more general information on the significance of DOS Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings.
Mexico Plagued by Violent Transnational Criminal Organizations
The recent DOS Travel Warning notes that the Mexican government has been engaged in a violent struggle with transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), especially in border regions and on routes used by drug traffickers. The TCOs do not appear to be specifically targeting tourists, and resort destinations and tourist attractions tend to be among the safest spots in Mexico. But, a number of U.S. citizens have been killed during gun battles involving TCOs. Others have been victims of kidnappings, carjackings, robberies, and other crimes.
Recommendations: Maintain Low Profile, Stick to Tourist Areas
The DOS recommends that U.S. citizens try to avoid wearing clothing or jewelry that may identify them as Americans. Travelers should stick to resort areas and tourist destinations, and avoid isolated roads. Daytime travel generally is safer than travel at night, but gun battles in broad daylight, even in well-populated areas, have been reported.
Mexico is a large country – roughly two-thirds the size of India – so the DOS makes a concerted effort not to paint the entire country with too broad a brush. To that end, this Travel Warning includes a breakdown of the safety concerns for each individual state in Mexico, including those areas where no travel advisory is in effect. Individuals planning a trip to a specific area in Mexico will find these state-specific assessments more relevant than the general overview.
Mexico can be an extremely convenient option for visa renewal and other travel needs. This latest DOS Travel Warning does not necessarily mean that foreign nationals should rule out travel to Mexico as an option, but it is important to stay informed about the conditions and make appropriate decisions based upon the latest information.
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