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New US travel warning for Mexico includes Cancun, Riviera Maya

Cancun, Q.R. — A travel warning has been issued by the United States against Mexico, this time including the state of Quintana Roo.

The United States has issued a new travel warning for what they say, are criminal activities in the area explaining that this travel warning replaces the last issued travel warning for Mexico in December 2016.

Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.

Due to an increase in violent crime including homicides and robberies, the department of state issued the warning for its citizens traveling to the country. Normally the state of Quintana Roo is excluded from these warnings, but for the first time, is named as being risky for travel.

Quintana Roo (includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum): U.S. citizens should be aware that according to Government of Mexico statistics, the state of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred.

Following the US travel warning, the Quintana Roo state government issued a statement to ensure that they are working “to protect and provide security to all of Quintana Roo and its more than 16 million tourists,” of which 67.14 percent are foreigners who visit destinations in the area each year.

State Tourism Secretariat reports that 52 percent of foreign tourists are repeat visitors to the area, returning “as a result of satisfaction and approval,” adding that in regard to the focus of insecurity, that is a consequence of corruption and impunity that prevailed in previous governments.

Since the new administration, regions of Riviera Maya including Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Chetumal, have received new police equipment and vehicles with a value exceeding 73 million pesos in addition to the modernization of facilities with new buildings, including the reinforcement of protection with elements of the Secretariat of National Defense, the Navy and the Federal Police.

In Cancún, the number of State Preventive Police have been significantly increased, resulting in the expansion and reinforcement of surveillance as well as the deployment of more than 600 members of the Ministry of National Defense and 400 from the Federal Police.

For the state of Quintana Roo, the US warning does not issue travel restrictions, only a warning of the risk.