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Increased Violence Prompts New Warning on Travel to Mexico

Concerns about the "unacceptable level of violence" along the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border

Posted: July 28, 2005

Washington -- The U.S. State Department has extended its previous warnings on travel to Mexico, citing increased violence along the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a July 26 statement, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said more than 100 violent deaths have occurred on the Mexican border since June. Garza said 18 policemen in the Mexican state of Nuevo Laredo have been killed in 2005, including eight in July.

"These disturbing reports make clear that Mexico needs to do much more to bring safety and security to our common border," said Garza, who pointed out that the State Department had issued two previous warnings in 2005 on the subject of traveling to Mexico.

But on a more positive note, the ambassador said the Mexican government is beginning to address concerns about the "unacceptable level of violence along our border."

Garza commended the government of Mexican President Vicente Fox for initiating "Operation Secure Mexico," which deployed hundreds of Mexican federal agents and military personnel in the areas hit hardest by gangs and drug traffickers.

Garza reiterated that putting an end to violence along the border is a "shared responsibility" of the United States and Mexico.

The envoy said that as a "friend of Mexico and a partner in its struggle to restore order to the area," the United States is providing assistance to its southern neighbor's law enforcement agencies and regional governments.

"I have held talks with officials at the highest levels of the Mexican government to underscore my belief that the prosperity of our two countries depends in no small part on stability and a firm commitment to stop the violence," Garza said.

To this end, he added, "we have a productive and ongoing dialogue with officials from the Mexican attorney general's office, as well as the governors and attorneys general of Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas."

"A lot of hard work lies ahead in our common effort to put an end to lawlessness along our border," Garza said.

However, Garza added that he is convinced that the Mexican government "is working to address the situation," adding: "We must recognize that this important task will not be accomplished overnight; we must remain steadfast and vigilant, because the stakes are too high. Both countries recognize that the movement of goods and people depends on good governance and respect for the law. In my view, the American and Mexican people deserve nothing less."

The most up-to-date factual information on conditions affecting travelers in Mexico is available on the State Department's "Consular Information Sheet," at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html. Garza said this information "will be revised as necessary."

Garza's entire statement is posted on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico at:

Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer



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