US: 5 Mexican States Now as Dangerous as Syria for Visitors

State Department issues new 'do not travel' warning
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2018 3:58 PM CST
US Government: 'Do Not Travel' to These 5 Mexican States
In this June 29, 2017 file photo, investigators mark the spot where spent bullet casing fell next several bodies lying on a road in the town of Navolato, Sinaloa state, Mexico. Five states in Mexico have gotten the sternest “do not travel” advisories under a revamped US State Department system.   (AP Photo/Enric Marti, File)

The US State Department tells citizens not to visit Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan. Five states in Mexico now carry the same "do not travel" warning, the Guardian reports. The State Department this week issued a level 4 advisory—the highest level of travel warning—against the states of Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, and Guerrero. According to the AP, all five states are home to either drug trafficking routes or drug crops. Cartels have been fighting a turf war in Tamaulipas on the US border, USA Today reports. The same is true of Guerrero, where 43 students disappeared in 2014, and Colima, which is the murder capital of Mexico. Violence has followed the 2016 arrest of El Chapo in Sinaloa, and Michoacán is a longtime home to cartels.

In addition to those five states, the US State Department classified 11 other Mexican states as level 3, or "reconsider travel." Half of Mexico's 31 states now have a level 3 or 4 warning, though the country as a whole sits at level 2, or "exercise increased caution." The number of murders in Mexico hit its highest level ever last year, with more than 22,400 people killed during the first 11 months of 2017. The homicide rate in Colima was 83.3 killings per 100,000 people. The new warnings could hurt tourism, which accounts for 7% of Mexico's GDP. The country's tourism board notes that the crime statistics being used by the US government "are not related to incidents that directly affected foreign visitors." (Read more Mexico stories.)

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