Mexico is a popular travel destination for spring break, but recent events in the country have reignited concerns about traveler safety.
Just last week, four Americans were caught in a shootout between drug cartel members and subsequently kidnapped shortly after crossing the border from Brownsville into Matamoros. Two of the victims died, and the two survivors — one of whom was wounded — were eventually rescued days later and escorted back to the U.S. by the Mexican military and armed national guards.
According to the U.S. State Department, “Violent crime — such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery — is widespread and common in Mexico.” The State Department has listed travel advisories for all 31 states in Mexico and for Mexico City.
Tamaulipas, the state that includes the town of Matamoros, is one of six Mexican states designated as “do not travel” due to crime and kidnapping dangers. The other Mexican states listed under this advisory are Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Zacatecas.
The State Department urges U.S. citizens to “reconsider travel” in seven listed Mexican states and to “exercise increased caution” for 17 others.
“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted,” the website cautions.
Only two states, Campeche and Yucatan, both located on the Yucatan Peninsula, are listed under “exercise normal precautions.”
For those who decide to proceed with their spring break plans to travel to Mexico, the State Department offers some safety tips. The website advises drivers to take toll roads when possible and to avoid traveling alone or late at night. Avoid displaying signs of wealth, such as expensive jewelry and watches, and keep traveling partners and family at home advised of your travel plans. Have a designated emergency contact, and familiarize yourself with the U.S. Embassy webpage.
In the wake of the latest kidnapping, the FBI is also suggesting some practical safety precautions for travelers headed to Mexico.
“If you’re driving there … stay on the main highways. Try not to veer too far off course. That’s where you can kind of get into sticky situations,” said Brooke Brennan with the FBI in Phoenix, according to Fox 10.
“Only use official forms of travel — so official taxis, shuttles, maybe for the resort that you’re staying at,” said Brennan, according to Fox 10. “Unofficial travel and unauthorized travel usually can make you an easier target, and that’s where some of these kidnappings have occurred.”
Seems to me if we stop tourism in Mexico completely, maybe the government will do something, but the drug/ human trafficking trade is more lucrative for officials. Punishing them by not purchasing anything from Mexico should be a quick fix. They need us more than we need them. Something drastic needs to happen. Military involvement perhaps? Border wall perhaps. The answers are there, but this administration sucks.