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Yesterday, February 20, 2009, the US State Department updated their travel alert for Mexico.

Quoting the captioned website:
Mexican drug cartels are engaged in an increasingly violent conflict - both among themselves and with Mexican security services - for control of narcotics trafficking routes along the U.S.-Mexico border. In order to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens should cooperate fully with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades. Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area. The U.S. Mission in Mexico currently restricts non-essential travel to the state of Durango and all parts of the state of Coahuila south of Mexican Highways 25 and 22 and the Alamos River for U.S. government employees assigned to Mexico. This restriction was implemented in light of the recent increase in assaults, murders, and kidnappings in those two states. The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted.

A number of areas along the border are experiencing rapid growth in the rates of many types of crime. Robberies, homicides, petty thefts, and carjackings have all increased over the last year across Mexico generally, with notable spikes in Tijuana and northern Baja California. Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana and Nogales are among the cities which have recently experienced public shootouts during daylight hours in shopping centers and other public venues. Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana.

The situation in Ciudad Juarez is of special concern. Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008. Additionally, this city of 1.6 million people experienced more than 17,000 car thefts and 1,650 carjackings in 2008.


U.S. citizens should make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll ("cuota") roads, which generally are more secure.

Kidnappings for ransom and crimes of violence in Mexico directed toward foreign nationals are very high and the price you pay for becoming a victim will likely be your life.

When things clear up, Baja will still be there.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
October 13, 2009 - Update

The situation in Mexico remains the same. I continue to work personally on issues surrounding this situation and work frequently with Mexican and US Government officials.

Traveling to and through both urban and rural areas in Mexico should be undertaken with the greatest of care and after careful consideration of potential consequences.

I enjoy Mexico - but I wouldn't take my FJ there on a vacation. There is just too much that can go horribly wrong these days.

I recently opened a blog on the issue. http://us-mexico-border-security.blogspot.com/
 
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