Going To Mexico Will Get You Killed/Kidnapped
Although the state department has issued a warning, they should have issued a ban on travel to Mexico. The death toll and kidnap toll on Americans is frightening to say the least. However, the administration just can’t bring themselves to issue these warnings knowing how dubya wants to open our borders to Mexico. Forget that Americans are dying, forget that there is a real problem here, and forget the fact that Mexico is doing NOTHING to stop this.
DOBBS: A stark warning from the U.S. State Department for American planning to travel to Mexico or already traveling there. Americans and local residents have been the victims of kidnappings and homicide carried out by warring drug cartels as we have been reporting here for some time. But the U.S. State Department is not now imposing a travel ban to Mexico.
Casey Wians has our report.
CASEY WIANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The State Department’s latest travel alert from Mexico warns much of Mexican territory along the U.S. border is a war zone. It says, “Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades.”
PROF. GEORGE GRAYSON, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY: What’s happened is that the Gulf Cartel just south of Texas has been decapitated and also there’ve been strong blows against the Tijuana Cartel. And you’ve got lieutenants who are fighting for the leadership of those cartels and competitive cartels are trying to move into their turf and so the blood is continuing to flow and I think it will flow in larger volumes.
WIAN: The updated travel alert also warns armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in 2007 in Tijuana. Public shoot outs have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas but it stops short of advising Americans to avoid northern Mexico.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Ultimately you know whatever warnings we put out, it comes down to an individual making a decision, do they want to heed the warnings and take into the account the information that we provide them?
WIAN: The State Department also warns Americans traveling anywhere in Mexico to be wary of kidnappers, an increasingly lucrative enterprise there. It says no one can be considered immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality or other factors. Mexican drug cartel violence has already claimed more than 850 lives so far this year.
WIAN: The State Department says it has no evidence that Americans are being specifically targeted adding that thousands of U.S. citizens cross the border every day, using common sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourists areas of border towns during the daylight hours — Lou.
DOBBS: Let me see if I have it right, kidnappings, murder, drug cartel violence, the State Department doesn’t have the guts to put an outright ban on travel for American citizens. That’s outrageous. It’s nuts.
WIAN: They’re not even discussing to my best knowledge a ban on travel to Mexico. They haven’t gone as far as issuing a formal warning which is a recommendation that Americans don’t travel there. The State Department has formal warnings out on 28 different countries. Some of them include Syria, Sudan, Indonesia, places like that where there is danger to Americans.
They’re not doing it for Mexico. They say it’s not necessary at this time, Lou.
DOBBS: With that many Americans already killed and kidnapped, I would like to see how it maps out with any other country. Can we kind of check that out here tomorrow? We’ll have that tomorrow to make a comparison because what it looks like is this administration seems to want to sacrifice both the safety of American citizens and the security of our borders.
I’m saying it to you straight up, Mr. President and everyone in the State Department. If you would like to take me to task; so be it. I think this is irresponsible to deal with like a travel notice.
Casey, thank you very much, an excellent job of reporting, Casey Wian.
They can add me to the list also Lou! I’m with you in the fact that people need to be warned and more. A full travel ban to Mexico might encourage the Mexican government to do something, but I doubt it. Seems that only criminals and drug cartels have any power there.
850 American lives lost so far this year and we are only 4 months into the year. Just how many Americans have to die before a travel ban is issued? How many died in other countries before those travel bans were issued?
So I went to the State Department’s home page and looked up which countries currently have travel warnings out on them. Here is a list:
Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. The countries listed below meet those criteria.
Central African Republic 03/25/2008
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 03/19/2008
Sri Lanka 02/08/2008
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 01/08/2008
Saudi Arabia 12/19/2007
Côte d’Ivoire 12/05/2007
Nope, no Mexico. So I decided to click on Kenya to see how many deaths, if any, had been reported or were mentioned. Here is what it says about Kenya:
Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings and home invasions/burglaries, can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. In January 2007, two family members of a U.S. Embassy employee were killed by armed carjackers. U.S. Embassy personnel continue to be victims of (non-fatal) carjacking incidents, as recently as mid-March 2008. In the short-term, the displacement of thousands of people by the recent civil unrest combined with endemic poverty and the availability of weapons could result in an increase in crime, both petty and violent. Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter, investigate and prosecute such acts.
American citizens in Kenya should be vigilant, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship. Americans should also remain vigilant in residential areas, schools, and at outdoor recreational events, and should avoid demonstrations and large crowds.
Just 2 and yet 850 Americans have died JUST THIS YEAR in Mexico alone. Can you say hypocrites? To say the least there should be a ban on travel to Mexico. What is wrong with the State Dept? Can they not count anymore? Or is the Mexican president paying them to keep the doors open here? Favoritism over the sanctity of American lives, that’s what this is to me. Just how much of a kick-back are those in the administration getting for keeping these doors open????
Frankly, I wouldn’t go near Mexico at this time and I highly recommend that other Americans stay away also. Let’s see if banning travel will help Mexico deal with their drug cartels in a way that is constructive and not destructive to human life. Course, Mexico’s president may not care much about his citizens, he hasn’t done much in the way of making their lives easier so far.