||Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of June 17, 2013
Beginning in December 2002, Cozumel Insider was proudly the first website to provide readers the Cozumel News in English.
Articles are slected from local newspapers which we feel will be of interest to our diverse audience. These articles are then translated into English. We cannot always investigate the veracity of a particular article but offer these translations as a reflection of the Cozumel community news just as reporters write it for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario and many other sources.
We appreciate hearing from our readers and welcome your questions, suggestions and comments. Please send them to: email@example.com
Note: All translated articles are the property of Cozumel Insider and cannot be used, displayed or reproduced without express written permission from Cozumel Insider.
Click here for more info: Details of Sherri's IslaMar Villas!
September 2010 & forward Sherri's NEWS NOTE: Due to circumstances beyond my control (read my blogs on the Homepage) I have been exposed to far more of Mexico than I ever thought possible. Consequently, I no longer live in the Cozumel bubble or drink the Kool Aid served up by the local press there. My view of Mexico, Quintana Roo and Cozumel is quite different now than a few months ago.
Tourism is a large part of the economic engine that runs ALL of Mexico so it’s normal for everyone to try to protect that engine at all costs. But given the fact that over 83,541 people (a/o 12/31/11 per El Diario report of 08/04/12) have been killed in this country, 30,000 are missing and 20,000 children have been orphaned since Calderon took office and began fighting the drug cartels, it is simply imprudent to bury one’s head in the sand and keep expecting travelers to believe the “it’s safe” story about Mexico.
Some of the news related items shared here attempt to illustrate common themes which I think are extremely important for part time islanders or travelers to understand now:
1) These are not the sleepy fishing villages of days gone by - Cancun, Playa and Cozumel tout themselves as "world class" tourism destinations with over 3 million visitors each annually and as such will attract their proportionate amounts of crime
2) There IS rising crime in these areas (so be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings) and
3) Local/state police/judges, are for the most part, corrupt and usually complicit with criminal activity so they are not necessarily going to help you…especially if you are a foreigner. These "public servants" are only looking for a way to extort you (REALIZE you are on your OWN if anything should happen).
|Cozumel: 12 Ships This Week
|06/16 - While still low, numbers improve this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals increase to 12 ships registered to dock for the fourth full week of June 2013. This is 3 more ships than last week and 8 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "low season" beginning. Nonetheless, an estimated 36,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship arrivals leaving an estimated US$ 2.2 million dollars behind in the local economy.
High season for cruise ship arrivals typically runs from November 15 - April 15 each year with the remaining 7 months of the year considered "low season."
This week Puerta Maya is the big economic winner as 9 ships dock, 2 will dock at Punta Langosta pier while the SSA/TMM International will see 1 arrival.
This week begins with 1 ship docking on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, 2 ship Wednesday, 1 on Thursday, 3 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 3 ships in port and Sunday will see 0 ships.
View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
|Cozumel Ironman 70.3
|Everything appears ready for the second Ironman 70.3 competition scheduled for September 22. The pavement where the bicycle and foot races will be held is in good condition and Chankanaab Park will be the site of the swimming contests. Registration is progressing a little faster than last year and 1,600 competitors are expected, with more Mexican nationals than foreigners. The full Ironman competition in November typically has more foreigners than Mexican nationals competing. The routes will be the same as last year.
|Cozumel Airport Still Has Bird Problem
|Vultures and herons still have a worrisome presence around the airport in spite of efforts to reduce the numbers of birds that represent a hazard to airplanes. Unfortunately, the dumping of trash attracts these birds and makes it difficult to manage the airspace for planes arriving and departing.
|Vendors On Pier Complain Of Unfair Practices
|Vendors of Cozumel tours and rental cars who are located on the piers complain about widespread illegal competition from Playa del Carmen and on board ferries. By the time they get to the island, those interested in snorkeling tours, scuba diving, glass bottom boat and vehicles for rent have already purchased them before arriving in Cozumel and if they haven’t already purchased, they were not interested to begin with. Cozumel vendors complain that their economic situation is weak and they have difficulty supporting their families. People looking for work have started to migrate to Playa del Carmen looking for employment in the hospitality industry which is a phenomenon that happens every low season.
|Cozumel Endangered Coatimundis
|Drivers are asked to be watchful of wild animals crossing the road, because two coatimundis were run over near Mezcalitos. Cozumel has only a small population of this endemic and endangered animal (between 90 and 150), which is even scarcer than the Cozumel dwarf raccoon. Additionally, blue crabs have begun to cross the roadways to mate and lay their eggs and many lie crushed on the roads. Please be careful as you drive around the island and help conserve Cozumel wildlife.
|Concern About Disappearance Of Mayan Bees
|Bee colonies are disappearing because of heatstroke in the wake of several heat waves, and the lack of flowering plants because of the heat has caused the bees to leave the colony and seek ventilated sites with water nearby where they can provide protection for their queen, weakening production expectations. More than four thousand families are engaged in beekeeping in Quintana Roo, particularly in the Maya region. Because of the strict regulations against honey with any trace of genetically modified organisms in the European market, several Mayan communities have created an association dedicated to the production of organic honey. However Monsanto is planning to plant over 13 thousand tons of genetically modified soy in the region, and that will represent a loss to the state of over 70 million pesos per year. Genetically modified crops require a lot of chemicals that can contaminate the water table, and may create residues of up to 200 times higher than other crops, and can cause cancer and genetic malformations.
|Cozumel Tour Operators Damaging Reefs
|Inspectors of the Cozumel Reefs National Park have discovered some tour operators violating the natural protected areas by allowing their clients to touch and otherwise damage the reefs, even knowing that it would cause severe damage and even death to the main attraction of this tourist destination. For such violations of the Natural Protected Area Regulations ten permits have been revoked over the last six years. Some water service tourist operators will report such violations, while others will not because they are aware that revoking the license would be an economic blow to the families. This is an immediate effect for a few families where the damage and death of the reef, as one of the main attractions of the island, will negatively impact many more families in the future.
|QRoo: Looking to Increase US & Canadian Tourism
|6/14 - Since the United States and Canada are the most important sources for the tourist markets in Mexico, the Ministry of Tourism via the Tourism Board of Mexico (CPTM), has launched a new promotional campaign in those countries called "Live it to believe it!" in order to encourage more U.S. and Canadian citizens to visit some of Mexico's major destinations.
This new pro-active ad campaign is said to be what is required in international markets now in order to attract tourism to a destination. Despite receiving over 3 million tourists during the first quarter of 2013, the "Live it to believe it" campaign is a combination of financial and human resources that will supposedly increase the number of tourists and economic flow in the area.
The campaign is based on a visual presentation of various travelers memories and experiences and supported with audio whereby the foreign visitors are telling their vacation experiences in Mexico and Quintana Roo. The campaign will run on TV, internet and in print media throughout the target countries.
"It's not Mexico as we see it, but as they lived and visited and as potential visitors want to see," said the CEO of CPTM, Rodolfo Lopez Negrete.
|Mexico City: Arrests During 1971 Corpus Massacre Memorial
|6/11 - Yesterday afternoon police ended up arresting over 20 people in the central downtown district of Mexico City where many gathered to walk and memorialize the anniversary of the Corpus Christi massacre of June 10, 1971 in Mexico City. The Corpus Massacre memorial walk departed from the Mexico-Tacuba causeway near the Teacher's School and continued its journey to the Zocalo quadrant where it ended. The memorial walk began peacefully but as the group of several hundred got closer to the final destination where a moment of silence was to be observed, individuals who claimed to belong to the group "Anarchist" began dispersing graffiti and assaulting uniformed officers monitoring the demonstration which forced police into the situation of having to make some arrests.
In this regard the Federal District authorities reported that a total of 22 detainees, including 19 men and 3 women, of whom four were charged with the following crimes: disturbing the peace, assault and carrying objects that could injure. The remaining 18 persons were determined to be participants as well based on video recordings of C-4 (Public Security Department) according to information provided by the Secretary of Government Hector Serrano Cortez and the head of the Ministry of Public Security of the Federal District, Jesus Rodriguez Almeida.
They explained that the memorial march was properly organized and permits obtained in advance with city authorities so that it could be conducted in an orderly and respectful manner. But according to what was observed through the C-4 video surveillance system, authorities detected a group of 20 hooded individuals infiltrating the memorial walk as they headed toward the Zocalo for the observance of the moment of silence.
The head of the SSP-DF said that the attacks and disturbance came from this group of hooded individuals and not those conducting the peace march. Police stepped in and sought to safeguard the order and safety of pedestrians which explained why a group of about 300 riot police surrounded the attackers and then begin to apprehend.
The memorial march began with more than 800 members, with a minute of silence in memory of the victims who died on June 10, 1971 there. The deadly massacre of 1971 claimed 120 victims comprised of student demonstrators seeking democracy and government transparency. The massacre is also referred to as "El Halconazo" (The hawk strike) because of the participation of a group of elite, black-op Mexican army soldiers known as Los Halcones. Los Halcones had been commissioned by President Luis Echeverría Álvarez specifically to quash student uprisings against the Mexican government which were forming all over Mexico at that time. After attacking and killing or injuring many of the demonstrators, Los Halcones soldiers then visited the hospitals where the injured were being treated and executed them will a bullet to the head. The entire incident was brought to light mainly because of the presence and injury of many foreign journalists on hand to document the student protests.
As recently as 2005, investigations and reviews were being held in an effort to bring justice to those responsible for the murders. In 2006, former Mexican President Luis Echeverría Álvarez was charged with crimes related to the incident however by 2009 he had been cleared mainly due to a lack of evidence after all the years passed.
Source: Excelsior & Wikipedia
|Mexico: Missing Persons Task Force Launched
|With as many as 30,000 missing persons in Mexico, federal government officials announced the creation of a federal task force to search for missing persons. According to Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, who made the announcement at a press conference alongside Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, the special investigative unit will put an end to the “bureaucratic maze” that currently characterizes the search for missing persons in Mexico. The unit will be supported by 12 investigators and a federal police group and should be functional in a “matter of days. More importantly, the task force will serve as the sole coordinating body for all government entities involved in locating missing persons. The Interior Minister did not, however, specify the proposed budget or the working location of the special unit or the size of the task force. These missing elements of specificity led to great disappointment among family members of missing persons.
In an interview with Animal Político, a Mexican news source, Margarita López, a mother of a missing person, said the task force of 12 investigators is “totally insufficient” and the search for the missing remains “stalled.” López’s daughter, Yahaira Guadalupe Bahena López, was taken from her home in Oaxaca by an armed group on April 13, 2011. Bahena López has not been seen since, and her mother has received scant assistance from authorities in helping find her.
The creation of the task force came as mothers and family members of missing persons staged a hunger strike to protest the government’s lack of urgency in investigating the cases of the 26,121 persons who have gone missing since 2006. The exact number of missing persons in Mexico, however, is disputed. Though a government database shows that there are 26,121 missing or disappeared persons in Mexico, the Interior Minister asserted at a recent press conference that, due to emigration to the United States and family disputes, the actual number of missing persons is most likely much lower than the official government figure.
Regardless of the exact count, the problem of missing persons in Mexico is considerable. Since the launch in 2006 of former President Felipe Calderón’s (2006 – 2012) crackdown on drug cartels, the country has been mired in brutal violence. An estimated 60,000 people have been killed in drug-related deaths with thousands reported missing, and many others forcibly disappeared by Mexican security forces. The latter is an increasingly prominent dilemma for the government.
In February of this year, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the issue of enforced disappearances. The report, “Mexico’s Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored,” painstakingly documents a small sampling (249) of the many disappearances that have occurred in Mexico in the last sexenio and provides strong evidence that 149 of the investigated cases are enforced disappearances involving public security agents (i.e. federal, state, and municipal police, and/or military forces are implicated). In response to reports and complaints about human rights violations, cluding kidnapping, enforced disappearances, and torture committed by the military and police forces, U.S. lawmakers have called on the State Department to continue to withhold security assistance funds to Mexico until the Mexican government systematically investigates these abuses and prosecutes those cases involving military personnel and civilians in civilian courts.
Given the small size and as of yet unknown budget, it is not clear if the newly created task force will have the resources or support to fully investigate the tens of thousands of cases of missing persons and enforced disappearances currently on record throughout the country in Mexico.
Sources: Human Rights Watch, CNN Mexico, Animal Politico, LA Times
|Mexico: Kidnappings on the Rise
|6/14 - Citizen’s Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (SJP) reported that kidnapping in Mexico has increased 33% in the first six months of Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency since he took office in December 2012. The Council drew its figures from the National System of Public Security (SNSP), the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) and the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH).
According to the report, between January and April of this year, 555 people were reported kidnapped as compared to 417 incidences during the same period in 2012. "México Evalúa," a Mexico City think tank, also reported that an average of 130 people were kidnapped each month thus far in 2013, compared to 109 average monthly abductions last year. As well, SJP’s data shows that 2,756 kidnappings occurred in 2012 and at least 5.2% of the victims were also killed in the incident. This is an increase from the 3.8% of kidnapping victims killed in 2011.
The 2012 total is the second highest number of kidnappings by year on record since 1971 only behind the SJP’s 2011 total of 2,979. Data from the Executive Office of the National Public Security System (SESNSP) within the Interior Ministry (Segob) shows that 12,003 cases of kidnapping were reported from 1997-2012, of which 7,070 were recorded in 2006-2012 indicating that almost 60% occurred during the Calderon Administration.
The reports on the rise in kidnappings come on the heels of several high profile kidnappings, including the abduction two weeks ago of 12 young people from a nightclub in Mexico City and the disappearance of a U.S. Marine and his relatives in the state of Tamaulipas.
On May 26, police received 12 individual missing persons reports from the Zona Rosa neighborhood in Mexico City, where the victims were taken together from a nightclub, according to eyewitness, by masked men driving white trucks. Some have tied the kidnappings to drug trafficking because two of the victims are the sons of drug traffickers currently serving prison sentences. Others have attributed the incident to increasing criminal activity in the neighborhood, saying that the abductions are an attempt of an external criminal group trying to seize control of the area.
The month of May also saw another high profile kidnapping when Armando Torres III of the U.S. Marine Corps, his father, Armando Torres II and uncle, Salvador Torres, were taken from the family’s ranch in La Barranca, Tamaulipas on May 14. An eyewitness described seeing the men forced into a white truck at gunpoint. The Monitor reported that family members believed the abduction was related to demands by drug traffickers that the elder Armando Torres relinquish the ranch because of its strategic location close to the Texas border. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is working in conjunction with Mexican law enforcement to identify the kidnappers and return the Torres’ to safety.
Sources: FBI Press Release, La Prensa, The Monitor, La Jornada, El Economista
|March 2013 (Most Recent) TEXAS DPS Issues "Don't Go" Advisory for Mexico
|March 2, 2013 - Spring Break is just around the corner and the Texas Department of Public Safety is warning students again to stay out of Mexico. The agency does not plan to issue a public statement as in previous years but a spokesman says, “The stance has not changed.” The Texas the Department of Public Safety again discourages all Spring Break travel to Mexico – even to popular tourist resorts that are not on included in the U.S. State Department travel warning for Mexico.
Source: KHOU.com Texas News ~ by Angela Kocherga
March 2012 (Most Recent) TEXAS DPS Issues "Don't Go" Advisory for Mexico
March 6, 2012 - The Texas Department of Public Safety is again urging Spring Breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico as a result of continued violence throughout the country.
“The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and we commend their continued commitment to making Mexico a safer place to live and visit,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “However, drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas.”
According to published information from the U.S. Department of State: *
• 12,903 narcotics-related homicides were reported the first nine months of 2011 alone.
• The number of U.S. citizens reported as murdered in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.
• U.S. citizens have fallen victim to transnational criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery.
• Rape and sexual assault continue to be serious problems in resort areas.
• Some bars and nightclubs, especially in resort cities such as Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and Tijuana can be havens for drug dealers and petty criminals.
• Crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country and can occur anywhere.
• The State Department now urges U.S. travelers to defer non-essential travel to all or parts of 14 Mexican states, four more than 2011.
“The situation in Mexico today is significantly different than it was just a decade ago,” said McCraw. “Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats. Based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”
DPS acknowledges that many travel to Mexico without incident, but the risks cannot be ignored. Travelers are encouraged to carefully research any planned trips.
Travelers should always check the U.S. Department of State website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico.
|November 20, 2012 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
|11/20/12 - The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Mexico. General information on the overall security situation is provided immediately below. For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, which can vary, travelers should reference the state-by-state assessments further below.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated February 8, 2012 to consolidate and update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.
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. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes.
Nevertheless, U.S. travelers should be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter TCOs which engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. The TCOs themselves are engaged in a violent struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity. As a result, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country and can occur anywhere. U.S. citizens have fallen victim to TCO activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery.
According to the statistics last published by the Mexican government in late 2011, 47,515 people were killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico between December 1, 2006 and September 30, 2011, with 12,903 narcotics-related homicides in the first nine months of 2011 alone. While most of those killed in narcotics-related violence have been members of TCOs, innocent persons have also been killed.
The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered under all circumstances in Mexico was 113 in 2011 and 32 in the first six months of 2012.
Gun battles between rival TCOs or with Mexican authorities have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico, especially in the border region. Gun battles have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area. TCOs use stolen cars and trucks to create roadblocks on major thoroughfares, preventing the military and police from responding to criminal activity. The location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable. We recommend that you defer travel to the areas indicated in this Travel Warning and to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the northern border region.
The number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern. Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized. In addition, local police have been implicated in some of these incidents. We strongly advise you to lower your profile and avoid displaying any evidence of wealth that might draw attention.
Carjacking and highway robbery are serious problems in many parts of the border region and U.S. citizens have been murdered in such incidents. Most victims who complied with carjackers at these checkpoints have reported that they were not physically harmed. Carjackers have shot at vehicles that fail to stop at checkpoints. Incidents have occurred during the day and at night, and carjackers have used a variety of techniques, including bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are some indications that criminals have particularly targeted newer and larger vehicles, especially dark-colored SUVs. However, victims driving a variety of vehicles, from late model SUVs to old sedans have also been targeted. While violent incidents have occurred at all hours of the day and night on both modern toll ("cuotas") highways and on secondary roads, they have occurred most frequently at night and on isolated roads. To reduce risk, if absolutely necessary to travel by road, we strongly urge you to travel between cities throughout Mexico only during daylight hours, to avoid isolated roads, and to use toll roads whenever possible. The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat the TCOs. U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways may encounter government checkpoints, which are often staffed by military personnel or law enforcement personnel. TCOs have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, and killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.
Effective July 15, 2010, the U.S. Mission in Mexico imposed restrictions on U.S. government employees' travel. U.S. government employees and their families are not permitted to drive for personal reasons from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior of Mexico or Central America. Personal travel by vehicle is permitted between Hermosillo and Nogales but is restricted to daylight hours and the Highway 15 toll road (cuota).
U.S. government (USG) personnel (U.S. citizens working at the Embassy and nine consulates) and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas described as “defer non-essential travel” and when travel for official purposes is essential it is conducted with extensive security precautions. USG personnel and their families are allowed to travel for personal reasons to the areas where no advisory is in effect or where the advisory is to exercise caution. While the general public is not forbidden from visiting places described as “defer non-essential travel,” USG personnel will not be able to respond quickly to an emergency situation in those areas due to security precautions that must be taken to travel to those areas.
For more information on road safety and crime along Mexico's roadways, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico divided into northern and southern regions. The accompanying map will help in identifying individual locations. Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can occur anywhere. For general information about travel conditions in Mexico, see our Country Specific Information on the website link at the bottom of this page.
Baja California (north) - Tijuana and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California :
You should exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. For the one-year period ending July 2012, the number of murders in Mexicali increased by 43%, from 127 to 181, over the preceding year. The number of murders in the city of Tijuana was 351 for the same period. In the majority of these cases, the killings appeared to be related to narcotics trafficking. Targeted TCO assassinations continue to take place in Baja California. Turf battles between criminal groups resulted in assassinations in areas of Tijuana frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours. Twenty-five U.S. citizens were the victims of homicide in the state in the 12-month period ending July 2012.
Baja California (South) - Cabo San Lucas and La Paz are major cities/travel destinations in the state of SouthernBaja California: No advisory is in effect.
Chihuahua - Ciudad de Juarez and Chihuahua are the major cities/travel destinations in Chihuahua:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Chihuahua. The situation in the state of Chihuahua, specifically Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua City, is of special concern. The Mexican government reports that 1,933 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez in 2011, down from 3,100 in 2010. Although there has been a further decline in homicides in 2012, Ciudad Juarez still has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico. Chihuahua City has seen an increase in violent crime in previous years. From the United States, other areas in the state of Chihuahua are often reached through the Columbus, NM, and the Fabens and Fort Hancock, TX, ports-of-entry which also experience high levels of violence. In these areas, U.S. citizens have been victims of narcotics-related violence. There have been incidents of narcotics-related violence in the vicinity of the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua.
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila. The State of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crimes and narcotics-related murders. TCOs continue to compete for territory and coveted border crossings to the United States. In September 2012, more than 100 prisoners escaped from a prison in Piedras Negras. The majority of these prisoners are known or suspected to be connected with TCO activity and believed involved in a series of violent incidents since the escape. The cities of Torreón and Saltillo have seen an increase of violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping, and armed carjacking. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments.
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Durango. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of homicides in the State of Durango increased by 122%. Several areas in the state continue to experience high rates of violence and remained volatile and unpredictable. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments.
Nuevo Leon - Monterrey is a major city/travel destination in Nuevo Leon:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Nuevo Leon, except the metropolitan area of Monterrey where you should exercise caution. The level of violence and insecurity in Monterrey remained high. Sporadic gun battles and attacks on casinos and adult entertainment establishments continue, as do placements of “narco banners” on bridges. TCOs have kidnapped and in some cases murdered American citizens, even when ransom demands are met. TCOs continue to attack local government facilities, prisons and police stations, and engaged in public shootouts with the military and between themselves. TCOs have used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices against military and law enforcement units as well as incendiary devices against several types of businesses. Pedestrians and innocent bystanders have been killed in these incidents. Local police and private patrols have limited capacity to deter criminal elements or respond effectively to security incidents. As a result of a Department of State assessment of the overall security situation, the Consulate General in Monterrey is a partially unaccompanied post with no minor dependents of USG personnel permitted. USG personnel serving at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and may not travel outside the San Pedro Garza Garcia municipal boundaries between midnight and 6 a.m.
San Luis Potosi:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of San Luis Potosi, except the city of San Luis Potosi where you should exercise caution. The entire stretch of highway 57D in San Luis Potosi and portions of the state east of highway 57D towards Tamaulipas are particularly dangerous. A U.S. government employee was killed and another wounded when they were attacked in their U.S. government vehicle on Highway 57 near Santa Maria del Rio in 2011. Cartel violence and highway lawlessness are a continuing security concern. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments. USG personnel may not travel outside the City of San Luis Potosi after dark and must abide by a curfew of midnight to 6 a.m.
Sinaloa - Mazatlan is a major city/travel destination in Sinaloa:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa except the city of Mazatlan where you should exercise caution particularly late at night and in the early morning. One of Mexico's most powerful TCOs is based in the state of Sinaloa. With the exception of Ciudad Juarez, since 2006 more homicides have occurred in the state's capital city of Culiacan than in any other city in Mexico. Travel off the toll roads in remote areas of Sinaloa is especially dangerous and should be avoided. We recommend that any other travel in Mazatlan be limited to Zona Dorada and the historic town center, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.
Sonora - Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos are the major cities/travel destinations in Sonora: You should defer non-essential travel between the city of Nogales and the cities of Sonoyta and Caborca (which area also includes the smaller cities of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar), defer non-essential travel to the eastern edge of the State of Sonora which borders the State of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of the northern city of Agua Prieta and the southern town of Alamos), defer non-essential travel within the state south of the city of Ciudad Obregon with the exception of travel to Alamos (traveling only during daylight hours and using only the Highway 15 toll road, aka cuota, and Sonora State Road 162), and exercise caution when visiting the coastal town of Puerto Peñasco. You should exercise caution when visiting the coastal town of Puerto Peñasco. There is no recommendation against travel to San Carlos. Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades, and can be extremely dangerous for travelers. The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity. U.S. citizens in Puerto Peñasco are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security following a July 2012 mid-day gun battle between TCO members and increases in reported robberies and assaults against U.S. citizens. Additionally U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco are urged to use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, in order to limit driving through Mexico. Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours.
Tamaulipas - Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico are the major cities/travel destinations in Tamaulipas:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas. All USG employees are prohibited from personal travel on Tamaulipas highways outside of Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo due to the risks posed by armed robbery and carjacking. USG employees may not frequent casinos and adult entertainment establishments within these cities; and in Matamoros are subject to a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew. Nuevo Laredo has seen an increase in the number of grenade attacks within the past year, particularly against night clubs within city limits. In June 2012, a small car bomb exploded in front of the Nuevo Laredo city hall. Both Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria have experienced grenade attacks in the past year. All travelers should be aware of the risks posed by armed robbery and carjacking on state highways throughout Tamaulipas, particularly on highways and roads outside of urban areas along the northern border. Traveling outside of cities after dark is particularly dangerous. In August 2012 an American family was forced off the road, resulting in one death and several injuries, in an apparent robbery attempt soon after crossing the bridge from Texas into Nuevo Laredo. While no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe, many of the crimes reported to the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros have taken place along the Matamoros-Tampico highway, particularly around San Fernando and the area north of Tampico.
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Zacatecas except the city of Zacatecas where you should exercise caution. The regions of the state bordering Durango and Coahuila as well as the cities of Fresnillo and Fresnillo-Sombrete and surrounding area are particularly dangerous. The northwestern portion of the state of Zacatecas has become notably dangerous and insecure. Robberies and carjackings are occurring with increased frequency and both local authorities and residents have reported a surge in observed TCO activity. This area is remote, and local authorities are unable to regularly patrol it or quickly respond to incidents that occur there. Gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur in the area of the state bordering the state of Jalisco. There have also been reports of roadblocks and false checkpoints on highways between the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco. The city of Fresnillo, the area extending northwest from Fresnillo along Highway 45 (Fresnillo-Sombrete) between Highways 44 and 49, and highway 49 northwards from Fresnillo through Durango and in to Chihuahua are considered dangerous. Extreme caution should be taken when traveling in the remainder of the state. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments. USG personnel may not travel outside the City of Zacatecas after dark and must abide by a curfew of midnight to 6 a.m. within a secured venue.
You should defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state that border the state of Zacatecas. The security situation along the Zacatecas border continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur. Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival TCOs involving automatic weapons.
Campeche: No advisory is in effect.
Chiapas - San Cristobal de las Casas is a major city/travel destination in Chiapas: No advisory is in effect.
Colima - Manzanillo is a major city/travel destination in Colima:
You should exercise extreme caution when traveling through the areas of the state of Colima that border the state of Michoacán. There is no recommendation against travel to Manzanillo. You should also exercise caution when traveling at night outside of cities in the remaining portions of the state. The security situation along the Michoacán border continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur. Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival TCOs involving automatic weapons.
Estado de Mexico - Toluca is a major city/travel destination in Estado de Mexico:
You should exercise caution in the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco Solidaridad, Chalco, and Ixtapaluca, which are eastern portions of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, located just to the east of the Federal District of Mexico and Benito Juarez airport. These areas have seen high rates of crime and insecurity. In September 2012, the Government of Mexico sent military and federal police forces into the Municipality of Nezahualcoyotl in an effort to combat organized crime.
Guanajuato - San Miguel de Allende and Leon are the major cities/travel destinations in Guanajuato: No advisory is in effect.
Guerrero - Acapulco, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo and Taxco are the major cities/travel destinations in Guerrero:
You should defer non-essential travel to the northwestern and southern portions of the state (the area west and south of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca), except for the cities of Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, and Ixtapa. In those cities, you should exercise caution and stay within tourist areas. You should also exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on highway 95D (cuota/toll road) between Mexico City and Acapulco and highway 200 between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than 2 blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence. Flying into the coastal cities in southern Guerrero remains the preferred method of travel. You should also exercise caution in the northern region of Guerrero (the area north of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca). The state of Guerrero has seen an increase in violence among rival criminal organizations. Acapulco's murder rates increased dramatically since 2009; in response, in 2011 the Government of Mexico sent additional military and federal police to the state to assist State security forces in implementing ongoing operation “Guerrero Seguro” (Secure Guerrero) that focuses on combating organized crime and returning security to the environs of popular tourist areas.
Hidalgo: No advisory is in effect.
Jalisco - Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta are the major cities/travel destinations in Jalisco:
You should defer non-essential travel to areas of the state that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas. You should also exercise caution when traveling at night outside of cities in the remaining portions of this state. There is no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. There is also no recommendation against travel on principal highways in Jalisco between Guadalajara including the portions that cross in to the southern portions of the state of Nayarit. The security situation along the Michoacán and Zacatecas borders continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur. Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival TCOs involving automatic weapons.
Mexico City (also known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect. See also discussion in the section on Estado de Mexico for areas within the greater Mexico City metropolitan area.
Michoacán - Morelia is a major city/travel destination in Michoacán:
You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas where you should exercise caution. Flying into Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas, or driving to Lázaro Cardenas via highway 200 from Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, are the recommended methods of travel. Attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel, and other incidents of TCO-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán.
Morelos: Cuernavaca is a major city/travel destination in Morelos:
You should exercise caution in the state of Morelos due to the unpredictable nature of TCO violence. On August 24, two USG employees were injured after being fired upon by Federal Police officers on an isolated road north of Tres Marias, Morelos. Numerous incidents of narcotics-related violence have also occurred in the city of Cuernavaca, a popular destination for U.S. students.
You should defer non-essential travel to all areas of the state of Nayarit north of the city of Tepic as well as to the cities of Tepic and Xalisco. The security situation north of Tepic and in these cities is unstable and travelers could encounter roadblocks or shootouts between rival criminals. There is no recommendation against travel either to Riviera Nayarit in the southern portion of the state or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.
Oaxaca - Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are the major cities/travel destinations in Oaxaca: No warning is in effect.
Puebla: No advisory is in effect.
Queretaro: No advisory is in effect.
Quintana Roo - Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are the major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo: No advisory is in effect.
Tabasco - Villahermosa is a major city/travel destination in Tabasco: No advisory is in effect.
Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect.
You should exercise caution when traveling in the state of Veracruz. Over the last year, the state of Veracruz has seen an increase in violence among rival criminal organizations. In response, in 2011 the Government of Mexico sent additional military and federal police to the state to assist State security forces in implementing ongoing operation “Veracruz Seguro” (Secure Veracruz) that focuses on combating organized crime.
Yucatan - Merida and Chichen Itza are the major cities/travel destinations in Yucatan: No advisory is in effect.
You are encouraged to review the U.S. Embassy's Mexico Security Update. The update contains information about recent security incidents in Mexico that could affect the safety of the traveling public.
For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Mexico. Information on security and travel to popular tourist destinations is also provided in the publication: Spring Break in Mexico - Know Before You Go!
For the latest security information
We encourage you to review the U.S. Embassy's Mexico Security Update. The update contains information about recent security incidents in Mexico that could affect the safety of the traveling public. For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Mexico.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to enroll with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate (see list below). The numbers provided for the Embassy and Consulates are available around the clock.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. U.S. citizens may also contact the Embassy by e-mail.
ACCENT BLUE You can reach the U.S. Consulate in Merida} by dialing our main number. From the United States, dial 011-52-999-942-5700. From within Mexico, dial 999-942-5700. You can also access Merida Consular offices online via the US Consulate website.
Please review the new Mexico Travel Warning dated November 20, 2012 from the Department of State in its entirety on the Department of State website.