The US State Department updates travel warning for Mexico
On November 20, 2012, the US State Department updated its travel advisory warning for Mexico, advising US travelers to be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) which engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. The advisory warns that US tourists have fallen victim to TCO attacks such as homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery. The warning opens with the positive statement, “Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day,” to assuage any potential panic. The Department’s earlier warning of avoiding non-essential travel to the northern states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sinaloa and Sonora, and other regions still remains unchanged.
The change in travel warning is a result of Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s attack against drug cartels, beginning in 2006. Since then, more than 60,000 people have died violent deaths in Mexico. In a survey conducted by Fronteras, only 10 percent of people in the US believe the US is winning the war on drugs. Though Mexico has come under scrutiny due to its increase in crime, Calderón has defended his country, pointing out that there are a lot of more violent places in the world than Mexico, such as Puerto Rico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic--all of which have higher murder rates than Mexico. The drug war continues to be a topic of debate in the US and Latin American countries grappling with the issue.