World News

US State Department Issues Travel Alert To Playa Del Carmen

US State Department Issues Travel Alert To Playa Del Carmen

The warning comes after an explosive device was found on a tourist ferry last week. Some 20 people were injured.

The State Department said if you are heading to Playa del Carmen be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution.

It adds that the US consular agency in Playa del Carmen "will be closed until further notice".

The State Department is warning of a security threat but is not elaborating on what kind of threat it is.

"Clearly, there is a threat", said Nauert.

Associated Press on Friday morning was reporting that the State Department warning from Wednesday was not related to the ferries. The area has also been hit, albeit infrequently, by drug violence, and the violent Jalisco cartel has been seen moving into the area.

The Canadian government travel advisory website noted the US actions.

United States officials have been in touch with Mexican law enforcement officials who are leading the investigation, Nauert said at a news briefing Thursday.

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"It's important to some people and irrelevant to other people", says Milne.

According to several reports, Mexican officials insist the region is safe, despite its security alert. A day before that, a shooting at a music festival in Playa del Carmen left three foreigners and two Mexicans dead.

The Mexican government is down-playing it, saying in a statement: "All tourism and economic activity in Playa del Carmen continues in a normal manner". "We do not know why the USA government made a decision to emit this alert", officials said, according to the Associated Press. No doubt the Mexican government is anxious about potential damage to the country's tourism reputation given the Riviera Maya's critical role as the leading destination for foreign sun-seekers in a country that relies heavily on tourism.

Not necessarily. Mexico's threat level hasn't changed-the country as a whole is at a level two advisory, meaning "exercise increased caution", but five states within the country are at level four, the highest on the scale, with the recommendation being "do not travel".

The ferry bombing isn't the only issue the area has had to deal with.

A February 21 explosion on a ferry that runs between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel injured 19 Mexicans and at least five US citizens.

"Every time the United States issues a travel advisory, it's got such a negative connotation, there's an nearly immediate knee jerk reaction from people to cancel", says Greenberg, "but in terms of Americans being targeted for violent crime, it doesn't really exist".


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