The U.S. Government has issued a notification to its employees barring them from traveling to Acapulco, the famous resort city in Mexico. According to ABC News, the decision to issue a travel ban on Acapulco was taken after a steep rise in the number of homicides that have been reported from the city in the past few months. In fact, the increase in the crime rate owing to a number of drug gangs operating from there has made Acapulco one of the world’s deadliest cities in recent years, reports say. The official statement from the government reads as follows.
“U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which it is advised to ‘defer non-essential travel.’ When travel for official purposes is essential, it is conducted with extensive security precautions. U.S. government personnel and their families are allowed to travel for personal reasons to the areas where no advisory is in effect or where the advisory is to exercise caution. While the general public is not forbidden from visiting places categorized under ‘defer non-essential travel,’ U.S. government personnel will not be able to respond quickly to an emergency situation in those areas due to security precautions that must be taken by U.S. government personnel to travel to those areas.”
Note that the government has also issued a general travel ban that warns civilians from visiting Mexico, as well.
“U.S. travelers should be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter organized criminal groups that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. Crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere, and U.S. citizens have fallen victim to criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery. While many of those killed in organized crime-related violence have themselves been involved in criminal activity, innocent persons have also been killed. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 100 in 2014 and 103 in 2015.”
This is not the first time the U.S. Government has issued travel bans on their employees visiting Mexico. In fact, a ban that covered the entire state of Guerrero — where Acapulco is located — was already active at the time of this new directive. The entire state of Guerrero has been a flashpoint of drug-related violence over the past few months. Before the new travel ban was imposed, U.S. Government employees were allowed to travel to Acapulco as long as they made the journey by air. Going via any land route was a strict no-no. Meanwhile, the U.S. Government has confirmed that the state resorts of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo still do not come under the purview of the travel ban. However, even these reports need to be visited by air.
According to statistics provided by the Mexican government, Acapulco, which has a population of over 700,000 residents, reported more than 902 homicides last year. In the state of Guerrero alone, there were 2,106 killings, which was a 33 percent increase over the previous year. Once the haven of famous Hollywood stars, the summer resort is now more famous for criminal activities these days. Even the famous tourist attractions have been witness to several killings in the past few years. Just last month, on Good Friday, locals were shocked after two dismembered bodies were found stuffed inside plastic bags and an ice chest in neighborhoods along the city’s seaside boulevard. A month before that, a shocking murder took place in broad daylight in another area of the city where a saleswoman was shot dead by unknown people. The area had witnessed another homicide just a few days prior to the saleswoman’s killing.
In January, a roving salesman was shot and killed, after which the attacker hopped onto a jetski and fled the area near Hornos beach near Acapulco.
In fact, in the period of January to February, 2016, there were a total of 139 killings in Acapulco alone. In 2016, this figure stood at 95. Last August was perhaps the worst month ever, with over 107 killings reported in the span of those 31 days.