Tens of thousands of U.S. college students are heading to Mexico for Spring Break, despite a travel alert issued by the U.S. State Department due to an increase in violence near the U.S. border.
Spring break has always pitted parents’ worries against students’ wants, but it has never been quite like this, says CBS News.
“I know my parents were not going to let me go to Mexico,” says Kimberly Toby, from Wakefield, Mass.
“My parents were really scared and begged us to cancel our trip,” says another young woman.
While the thought of beautiful beaches and fruity drinks may be enticing, the bigger picture is, there is an ongoing battle among drug cartels against government forces across the country, which has killed more than 7,000 people in the last 15 months.
A travel alert issued by the U.S. State Department warns Americans to exercise caution and not have a false sense of security while in Mexico, noting, more than 200 Americans have been killed there since 2004.
They also encourage all U.S. citizens to stay in well-known tourist areas of the cities and phone home regularly to assure family and friends of their safety and whereabouts.
While most of the violence occurs in border cities far from Cancun’s tourist strip, just last month a horrific situation occurred.
In Cancun to overhaul the local police force, a retired Mexican army general had his hands, wrists and ankles broken before being shot multiple times, after it was believed to be infiltrated by drug cartels.
Alonzo Pena, a representative for the Homeland Security Department says, the violence there is not as dangerous to U.S. tourists as it has been portrayed and that Americans should not cancel their vacations to Mexico. He adds, the violence is in isolated parts of the country and usually affects only those people whom are involved in criminal activities.
Also read, Vacation Safety: How Travel Warnings Could Impact Your Plans, by IB Partner, David Mittleman. #