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U.S. State Department warns college students against spring break travel to Mexico

March 15, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. State Department warns college students against spring break travel to Mexico

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The U.S. State Department is urging college students across the U.S. against spending their spring break in some areas of Mexico, where widespread crime has made travel unsafe for Americans.

The latest travel warning by the U.S. State Department comes as students are concluding their midterm exams and are going on vacations in warmer weathers. But Mexico, which was once the most popular spring break destinations, is troubled with uncontrollable levels of violence.

“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery in various Mexican states,” the travel warning declared.

The announcement, which substitutes the one issued last April and extended in December of 2016, specifically advises travelers of the dangers in 14 of Mexico’s 31 states, including the famous spring break destinations of Baja California Sur, Guerrero, and Nayarit.

Travel warnings have been issued for popular spring break destinations in Mexico.
(Photo: KENS)

“Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2015 for the third year running, and self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas,” the warning says of the state that includes the beachside city of Acapulco.

“Armed members maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and are considered volatile and unpredictable.”

Acapulco has now become one of the primary centers of Mexico’s vicious drug war.

The city suffers from being a drug trafficking hub on Guerrero’s Pacific coastal highway, while massive tourism provides cartels with a profitable local market for drugs.

It is also the largest city in the state of Guerrero, and is Mexico’s primary location for the production of opium, and is one of the most violent areas in the country, infamous for the disappearance of 43 students in 2014 and a seemingly unending wave of violence and fear.

In 2009, the city attracted as many as 30,000 spring breakers, but only two years later that number had decreased to roughly 500.

Despite U.S. State Department travel warnings in Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico’s tourism industry remains strong.

A 2012 file photo, Naval Marines on patrol as tourist sun bath

Mexico is ranked number 9 among the world’s top 10 most visited countries in 2016 with 11.44 million international tourists, an increase of 9.9% from the previous year.

Millions of U.S. natives go to Mexico each year – including over 150,000 who cross the border every day. The Mexican government has allocated substantial resources to protecting tourist destinations, and generally, these areas do not see the levels of drug-related violence that are seen along the border or on major drug trafficking corridors.

The increase occurred as violence hit Mexican states which remained shielded from the strife engulfing the rest of the country.

In January, a cartel shootout in Playa del Carmen at a nightclub hosting a BPM event resulted in five people killed including an 18-year-old American girl”.

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