State Department Upgrades from Alert to Travel Warning for Mexico

Penny Starr

A U.S. State Department official said on Friday that the decision to upgrade Mexico from its Travel Alert list to the list of countries deemed dangerous enough for a Travel Warning status was not related to the death of two U.S. citizens on March 13 as they left a children’s birthday party in the violence-ridden city of Ciudad Juarez.

The official told it was a “coincidence” that the status change was announced on the Sunday following the killings and that the change was already ready for launch as early as March 8.

When asked why that decision was not made earlier given State Department databases that shows hundreds of U.S. citizens have been victims of homicides since 2002 – including 79 homicides and one execution in its Death of U.S. Citizens Abroad by Non-natural Causes for 2009 – the official cited a growing concern over increasing violence in Mexico, particularly in six cities along its northern border with the United States.

According to the State Department, countries are deemed worthy of a travel alert status when “short-term” conditions pose a risk to the security of U.S. citizens…

…Although many more U.S. citizens travel to Mexico than some of the other countries on the warning list, the number of Americans who are victims of homicide in Mexico is more than double of the combined total of 32 for eight countries on the list…

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