Less than two weeks after Mexico recorded its deadliest year on record, the Interior Minister of Mexico has decided to call it quits amid the out of control violence and soaring homicides.
Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said Wednesday he was resigning from his post with intentions to seek a Senate seat in the upcoming July elections. President Enrique Pena Nieto appointed Chong to the position in 2012, where he oversaw government tasks including security, migration and human rights. The president applauded Chong for his public service, despite the eruption of death and despair through most Mexican states. The president announced Labor Secretary Alfonso Navarrete, of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), would be the next in line as the Interior Minister.
As Mexico’s political elite play musical chairs in the collapsing house of burritos, the United States has just urged its citizens not to visit five violence-plagued Mexican states, placing them on the same list as war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, and Syria.
The U.S. State Department has warned U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees to exercise increased caution while traveling in Mexico, and even restricted some regions from access because of “violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.”
Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico as U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to these areas. U.S. government employees are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico.
U.S. government employees are also not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico with the exception of daytime travel on Highway 15 between Nogales and Hermosillo.
While the U.S. State Department has discouraged all travel to 31 Mexican states, a new warning issued Wednesday elevated five states to Level 4, otherwise known as a war-zone like some countries in the Middle East.
The U.S. State Department defines Level 4 as :
Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 4 states in Mexico:
- Colima state due to crime.
- Guerrero state due to crime.
- Michoacán state due to crime.
- Sinaloa state due to crime.
- Tamaulipas state due to crime.
For example in Colima, the U.S. State Department warns:
U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to Tecoman or within 12 miles of the Colima-Michoacán border and on Route 110 between La Tecomaca and the Jalisco border.
For example in Guerrero, the U.S. State Department warns:
Do not travel due to crime. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.
For example in Tamaulipas, the U.S. State Department warns:
Do not travel due to crime. Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state.
As a whole, Mexico was assigned the Level 2 rating, as U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees are urged to “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Increased violence in the region has been fueled by U.S. demand for opioids coupled with a power struggle between Mexican drug cartels. In the first 11 months of 2017, there were 22,409 deaths across Mexico–making it one of deadliest years ever.
In December 2017, we noted how the violence penetrated the tourist areas of Baja California Sur, home to Cabo and La Paz. In 2017, there were 62 homicides per 100,000 residents in Baja California Sur, just slightly higher than the homicide rates of Venezuela and Baltimore registering at 57.2.
In essence, it’s for a very good reason why the U.S. State Department has labeled 16% of Mexican states level-4 on Wednesday on par with war-zones in the Middle-East.
Unbeknownst to many, America’s opioid crisis is fueling heroin demand from Mexican drug catels, who are simultaneously battling for territory across the entire region, as it has created one of the deadliest enviorments ever in the country’s history.
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