USA warns of threat in Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen

Mar 09, 2018, 08:59
USA warns of threat in Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is prohibiting U.S. government employees from traveling to popular resort town Playa del Carmen. The embassy says in an alert posted on its website that it received information Wednesday about a "security threat" in that city and US government employees are prohibited from going there.

"Effective immediately, U.S. Government employees are prohibited from traveling to Playa del Carmen until further notice", the security alert states.

In August 2017, the U.S. State Department issued a warning to tourists about cartel violence in the once calm beach resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen. It also advised USA citizens to purchase travel insurance which includes medical evacuation.

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Still, Mexican officials on Thursday said that Playa del Carmen was safe despite the US security warning. The State Department also warned Americans to "exercise caution".

A subsequent probe earlier this month also uncovered undetonated explosives on a different tourist ferry boat owned by the same company.

"We do not know why the USA government made a decision to emit this alert", the government said.

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It was just two weeks ago an explosion rocked the ferry from Playa del Carmen, injuring 25 people, including two Americans. Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they need assistance.

The State Department official said Wednesday's security alert for Playa del Carmen is different from a travel advisory and is meant to inform US citizens "of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events".

The Quintana Roo Government issued a statement after the advisory was put in place saying that tourists will continue to be welcome. The State Department reports that there has been an increase in homicide rates over 2016, and that, while most of the homicides appeared to be targeted assassinations stemming from turf battles between rival criminal groups, those clashes have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by USA citizens. "Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred".

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