The State Department is warning Americans heading to Mexico as spring break approaches to completely avoid six states because of persistent crime, including kidnappings, by the country’s cartels.
The popular spring break resort areas of Cancun and Cozumel received only a “take increased caution” warning, as did Mexico City, although Mazatlan and Acapulco are in the State Department‘s “do not travel” regions.
The states to be avoided because of crime and kidnapping are Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas, with Guerrero pinged only for crime.
Tamaulipas borders Texas, and armed cartels are known to patrol the border areas with particular impunity, the State Department warns. Buses traveling there have been boarded, with passengers taken for ransom.
Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Guerrero are all along Pacific Coast smuggling routes for the cartels. Sinaloa is also home to Mazatlan, while Acapulco is in Guerrero.
The State Department also urged Americans to reconsider travel to seven other Mexican states because of kidnappings and crime, including Baja California and Jalisco, home of Guadalajara, the country’s second-largest city after Mexico City.
Baja California, home to the Pacific Coast resort town of Cabo San Lucas, was singled out for danger in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego. While most homicides are targeted assassinations, the State Department warned that bystanders can be hurt or killed in those incidents.
Only two of Mexico‘s 32 states, Campeche and Yucatan, were given the lowest designation, with travelers recommended to take normal precautions. The two states are home to historic sites of the Mayan civilization, including the stepped pyramid of Chichen Itza in Yucatan.
Neighboring state Quintana Roo, home to the Caribbean’s Riviera Maya and the tourist areas of Cancun, Tulum and Cozumel, has the second-level designation of “take increased caution” due to crime and kidnapping.
Still, the resort areas offer their own dangers.
“There is a cartel presence in these resorts,” Robert Almonte, a former U.S. marshal in the Western District of Texas, told NewsNation.
Mr. Almonte thinks Americans should force change in America’s southern neighbor by “voting” with their feet and wallets.
“We’ve had enough. We’re not going to Mexico until you guys get your house in order,” Mr. Almonte suggested to NewsNation.