The State Department is urging U.S. citizens to reconsider or even avoid travel to parts of Mexico — including Jalisco state, home to top queer destination Puerto Vallarta — over increased crime and kidnappings in the region. As travelers make plans for spring break, the federal department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued multiple advisories over the ongoing violence in Mexico.
Cartel violence erupted in Culiacan in early January after authorities arrested Ovidio Guzmán, a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Rather than issue a nationwide risk assessment for Mexico, the department reviewed each state, issuing its strongest warning, for Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas over crime concerns.
Urging U.S. citizens not to travel to those Mexican states, the Bureau of Consular Affairs cited recent shootings between rival gangs that have injured or killed bystanders, as well as kidnappings targeting tourists and “green card” holders.
Officials advise U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, and Sonora due to crime and kidnapping.
Regarding Jalisco, which is home to popular LGBTQ+ destinations Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, and Riviera Nayarit, the advisory notes, “Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and [legal permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping.”
At least some of the increased violence in tourism hotspots can be traced to the appetites of the travelers themselves: demand for drugs has brought competing cartels to the region.
In January, Orange County public defender Elliot Blair died under suspicious circumstances while vacationing in Rosarito in Baja California. His family believes the 33-year-old was murdered, but local authorities have called his death an accident.
U.S. officials advise increased caution when traveling to an additional 17 Mexican states, including Quintana Roo, home to the popular tourist destination, Cancun. Clashes in that state between Uber and Cabify drivers and taxi unions, have turned violent and injured U.S. tourists.
Source: US State Department