Americans are flocking to Mexico, with travel now eclipsing pre-pandemic levels – but a security expert has warned that traveling south of the border remains ‘risky’ weeks after the State Department issued a travel warning for the country.
Top destinations throughout the Mexican Caribbean and Pacific coast have been marred by incidents that have put innocent victims in the middle of crossfire, but it has not been enough to dissuade U.S. travelers from visiting Mexico.
Mexico received 10.26 million international arrivals from January to June 2022, eclipsing pre-pandemic levels, according to Mexico’s Tourism Department.
Former DEA Special Agent Derek Maltz told The Courier-Journal that he cautioned a friend against sending his daughter for spring break in the Cancún, one of the top six cities tourists prefer to visit in Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo.
‘I’d show them the phone with all the violence down there and say, ‘I wouldn’t be sending my daughter there because that’s too risky,” Maltz said.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel is said to have been responsible for unleashing a wave of attacks in August across the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Baja California, torching several businesses and vehicles.
The government implored American citizens not to travel to the states of Colima, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán and Sinaloa.
Everard Meade, director of Proceso Pacifico, a peace-building organization based in Mexico, suggested that tourists stay away from the Guerrero resort town of Acapulco – which once attracted A-listers like Bono and Sylvester Stallone.
At least 236 people were murdered from January to June in comparison with 213 during the same period in 2021.
‘Acapulco is the one place where I would really tell people to hesitate. And I hate doing it,’ Meade said.
The Department of State advisory also urged prospective visitors to reconsider traveling to the states of Sonora, Morelos, Guanajuato, Durango, Chihuahua, Baja California (where the August attacks took place), and Jalisco, the site of a mall shooting Sunday that left a bodyguard dead after Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen attempted to kidnap a businessman at a mall in broad daylight.
The U.S. government also listed 16 states and Mexico City, the capital, as places where Americans have to ‘exercise increased caution.’
Over the past couple of months, the area’s reputation has taken a hit due to a series of murders.
Robert Almonte, an expert on international criminal organizations who also served as a United States Marshal, told the newspaper that the shooting incidents were examples of criminal organizations battling for control of areas that generate money from a tourist crowd that has an appetite for drug consumption.
‘When you see things like that happening, that’s just an indication that the cartels are fighting each other to gain control of those areas, not just for drug smuggling routes, but also for the street sale of drugs,’ he said. (The tourists) go to the beach resorts, and some of them are drug users. So, they’re buying drugs, and you have the cartels fighting each other over those sales.’
At least 20,722 homicides were reported from January to August 2022, according to Mexican government data.
Despite the wave of violence, Meade said criminal groups are aware that foreign tourists are off limits.
‘I mean, there’s just so few incidents where foreign tourists are victims of violence and particularly homicide,’ he said. ‘Organized crime groups know that it’s not productive to target them. They know that if they did that, the result would be the National Guard running all over the city. And they just don’t want that.’
Scott Stewart, vice president of TorchStone Global, a U.S.-based security firm, is of the belief that some of the innocent victims have been ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ and that anyone traveling to vacation or conduct business in Mexico should be aware of their surrounding before heading there.
‘And you can do so if you’re careful and if you know the risks ahead of time and if you have plans to mitigate the risks ― you can certainly have a great visit there,’ Stewart said.
For those who continue to disregard the travel warnings, Almonte suggests they arrange transportation through hotels before traveling to Mexico and to refrain from leaving the resorts.
‘I would not venture off into other areas of the neighborhood, things of that nature because tourists are going to stand out to the cartels and the gangs as tourists,’ he said.
THE CARTELS OWN THE MEXICAN POLICE…….CARTELS NEVER GET ARRESTED AND THE MEXICAN POLICE POCKETS KEEP BULGING……….GETTING THE CARTELS OUT OF THE UNITED STATES ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE ILLEGAL ALIENS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY…THEY ARE THE TERRORISTS THAT ARE DESTROYING THE USA, JUST LIKE THE DEMS/RINOS.