The United States government has issued a new travel warning for visitors to Mexico, advising that security threats are posed by organized crime in certain areas.
Travelers should avoid trips that aren’t strictly necessary to the state of Tamaulipas, border areas of Michoacán, apart from the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cárdenas, and border zones of Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo in Coahuila.
The same recommendation is in force for Zacatecas and Nayarit, bordering Sinaloa, where only Mazatlán is deemed safe.
Border zones between Aguascalientes and Zacatecas are also danger areas, as well as commercial areas of Ciudad Juárez and industrial parks in Chihuahua. Sonora being a key area in international drug trafficking, it can be “extremely dangerous” for travelers, the advisory continues, in the area west of Nogales.
The report says 81 Americans were assassinated in Mexico last year, 10 more than in 2012, and an increase in kidnappings was noted in the states of Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Mexico and Morelos.
During the first six months of this year the American embassy and consulates in Mexico received 70 reports of kidnappings of American citizens. Kidnappings were of the traditional kind, in which victims are physically removed from their surroundings, as well as “virtual,” in which the victim is detained in his hotel until payment is received.
The warning also said theft of vehicles using violence and thefts on highways are also “a serious problem” in many border areas, and there are cases in which Americans have lost their lives.
The U.S. government urges travelers in vehicles to travel by day, avoid remote highways and use toll highways where possible.
There is no advisory in effect for the states of Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quinta Roo, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, Yucatán and D.F. The warning is the first to be issued since last January.
Source: Milenio (sp)