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US declares Guadalajara, Vallarta safe

November 22, 2012

The U.S. State Department updated its advice for travel in Mexico this week, declaring “no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.”

The advisory declared it safe to “travel on principal highways in Jalisco between Guadalajara including the portions that cross in to the southern portions of the state of Nayarit.” The border areas with Michoacan and Zacatecas were the only part of Jalisco where U.S. citizens were advised to “defer non-essential travel.”

“The security situation along the Michoacan and Zacatecas borders continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur,” the report explained. “Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival TCOs (transnational criminal organizations) involving automatic weapons.”

The State Department reported that 113 U.S. citizens were murdered in Mexico in 2011 and another 32 were killed in the first six months of 2012. Readers should note this figure includes Mexican-Americans who may have been involved in the drug trade.

Furthermore, the advisory noted that “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 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.”

In a general warning for visitors anywhere in the country, the State Department noted, “the number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern. Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized … We strongly advise you to lower your profile and avoid displaying any evidence of wealth that might draw attention.”

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