Mexico is safer than US, says President Lopez Obrador

by IANS |

Mexico City, March 14 (IANS) While dismissing the US State Department's travel advisories for Americans to avoid vacationing in Mexico, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his country was safer than the neighbouring nation.

The advisories issued on March 10 which include "do not travel" warnings for several Mexican states marred by drug violence, came in the wake of the high-profile kidnapping of four Americans in Matamoros who came under attack by gunmen believed to be linked to the Gulf cartel.

Two of the Americans and a Mexican bystander died in the incident.

Addressing reporters at the presidential palace here on Monday, the President said: "Mexico is safer than the US," reports Xinhua news agency.

"There is no problem whatsoever for travelling safely through Mexico," he added.

According to Lopez Obrador, Mexico is safe and there are increasingly more Americans who have come to reside in the country in recent years.

The advisories are part of "a campaign" against Mexico, mainly by "conservative" US politicians who disagree with Mexico's current reformist agenda, the President added.

When asked about the security in Mexico, Lopez Obrador said: "US government alerts say that it's safe to only travel (in the states of) Campeche and Yucatan. If that were the case, so many Americans wouldn't be coming in to live in Mexico City and the rest of the country.

"In the past few years is when more Americans have come to live in Mexico. So, what's happening? Why the paranoia?"

The US State Department has "do not travel" advisories in place for six of Mexico's 32 states, including northeast Tamaulipas state, where Matamoros is located.

It warns Americans to "reconsider travel" to seven Mexican states and "exercise increased caution" in 17 states.

Canada and the UK also have detailed travel warnings for Mexico.

Violent crimes continue to plague parts of Mexico.

The country's overall homicide rate is among the highest in the world, and it has been troubled by an epidemic of disappearances with more than 100,000 Mexicans and migrants still missing.

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