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U.S. Dept. of State Travel Advisory 2/20/09 Review

February 22, 2009

The Mexico travel alert released by the Dept. of State, is issued on February 20th, right before the spring break period begins.   The advisory is NOT  a “warning” which is the more serious type that would be issued, if in fact the situation warranted the same.  Apparently it did not.

Importantly, there is little new or different about this advisory than those that have been repeatedly issued for close to THREE YEARS,  other than the number of deaths that have occurred in between their issuance.  But, of course, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a body count to DECREASE, so it is unclear the importance of the reissuance as it is redundant.  Since the previous October “alert” was not  set to expire, one must ponder the “timing” of its republication?

As far as Baja Norte is concerned, the Alert makes reference to spikes in incidents of small armed confrontations between military, police, and drug warriors, in areas of Northern Baja and Tijuana in particular. However, there was no mention of ANY US citizens, or TOURISITS being injured or killed. In fact the biggest impact was “During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.”  Sounds like highway  gridlock in LA!!!  Again, however, this is the same language issued before, so one must ponder whether its contemperaneous to anything?

The advisory also proclaims ““millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the U.S. land border every day for study, tourism or business).”

It is also noteworthy that the Advisory generally warns:
“Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.”

Well I would make the same recommendation if visiting, LA, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, Baltimore…etc. etc. etc.

Other reactions:

1)”Bob Filner, US California congressman, visiting Tijuana on March 1 2009 criticized the travel alert, to US citizens, to dissuade visiting the Mexican border region: “I am here and I feel safe” said Filner,  addresssing that US citizens do not have a real perception of what is happening in the area…”    Baja Times 3/16/09 pp

2)”John Bailey, professor of comparative government at Georgetown University, told that because the vast majority of deaths in Mexico are not U.S. citizens, the State Department can stand by its travel alert policy.

“The key concern for the State Department is U.S. citizens in Mexico, and these are least affected, at least to date,” Bailey said. “If trafficking gangs begin to target U.S. citizens in Mexico deliberately, it would be a major (and very negative) change. In such an event, State would have to take another look at its policy.”
            CNS News 3/09/09

Posted by BajaBrent at 2/21/2009 4:25 PM | Add Comment

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