5 Mexican states get highest US 'don't travel' warning


MEXICO CITY (AP) — Five states in Mexico now have the sternest "do not travel" advisories under a revamped U.S. State Department system unveiled today, putting them on the same level as war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

The five states are Tamaulipas on the U.S. border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero on the Pacific coast. All the states are hotspots of drug-cartel activity, either hosting trafficking routes or extensive drug-crop cultivation.

The State Department had previously discouraged travel to all or part of those states but the new warnings are sterner, placing them on a level 4 warning, the highest level of potential danger.

Mexico as a whole has a level 2 rating, meaning Americans should "exercise increased caution" because of concerns about crime. But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level 3 warning today, which urges people to "reconsider travel" there. Mexico has 31 states, half of which are now under level 3 or 4 warnings.

Those states where Americans are urged to reconsider travel include the State of Mexico - Mexico's most populous state, which includes most suburbs of Mexico City - and Jalisco, home to the city of Guadalajara, the Puerto Vallarta resorts and the lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic. But the travel advisory said there are "no restrictions on U.S. government employees for stays in ... Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic."

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