A fresh travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department shortly before the Christmas holiday travel period continues to label five Mexican states in the same danger category as war-torn Middle Eastern countries. Such states have a Level 4 designation, where U.S. travelers are asked not to visit. State Department officials continue to avoid using the word “cartel” to describe the main organizations operating in those parts of the nation.
The new travel advisory from the State Department comes as residents along the U.S.-Mexico Border are preparing for holiday travel. The new warning is similar to previous ones with claims about the prevalence of violent crime and risks for travelers. In the new advisory, diplomatic officials claim that violent crimes like homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery are prevalent in Colima, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sinaloa, and Michoacán. While Mexico is overall listed as a Level 2 country, meaning “exercise increased caution,” five states are listed as Level 4 and 11 others are listed as Level 3, which instructs Americans to “reconsider” their plans. In addition to the heightened risk, U.S. diplomats are limited in their ability to help travelers since “travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or significantly restricted.”
The 5 most violent states contain significant areas under the control of cartels including the Gulf, factions of Los Zetas, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, and the Sinaloa Cartel. Consular officials claim that in those states, “violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common.”
Consular officials claim that “gang activity [cartels], including gun battles and blockades, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling … often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments.”
The newest advisory is an update and extension to what has been in place for several years. While the consular notice is only an advisory for tourists, U.S. government employees are issued travel restrictions and are ordered to avoid certain places.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.