Warning that violent crime and gang activity are widespread, the U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara issued a strongly worded security alert for Colima, warning its citizens not to travel to the state due to crime and kidnapping amid an ongoing turf war between criminal groups.
While the U.S. Department of State had already included Colima in a Do Not Travel advisory on March 16, that travel advisory was focused on Nuevo Laredo. Colima was included with Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, México state, Morelos, Nayarit, Sonora and Zacatecas. It advised increased caution in all other states except Campeche and Yucatán, where normal precautions were recommended.
It also instructed citizens to reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19.
The new advisory, issued on April 1, focuses exclusively on the state of Colima, “where shooting incidents between criminal groups have occurred in public places where bystanders have been injured or killed,” the Consulate General said. It also warns particularly against travel to Colima city.
Colima is the smallest state in the country by population, home to just over 730,000 citizens. However, its modest size and remote location haven’t spared it from becoming one of the most violent places in Mexico: 84 people were killed from February 7 to March 7, almost three per day.
Eleven people were killed and five were injured in the state over the weekend.
The wave of violence started with a prison riot on January 25, in which nine inmates were killed. The violence spread to the streets on February 7 in a territorial battle between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the local gang Los Mezcales, a previous ally that switched allegiance to the Sinaloa Cartel.
Colima was Mexico’s most violent state on a per capita basis for five consecutive years between 2016 and 2020, before losing that unenviable title to Zacatecas last year.
Morena party Governor Indira Vizcaíno Silva interrupted 72 years of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) power in Colima by winning the June 2021 elections.
Mexico News Daily