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Mexico – Violence Breaks Out Again – State Department Warns Americans

Last weekend marked the heightening of violence in Tijuana Mexico with an outbreak of gangland style shootings on Saturday, April 26. It appears that the gun battles that claimed 15 lives was a result of a continuation of the running drug wars.

The attorney general of Baja California, Rommel Moreno commented that he saw this as a confrontation between gangs. Tijuana is the home to the Arellano-Felix drug cartel.

What makes this an issue? It seems like with little notice, the State Department issued a Travel Alert for Americans. Two points in the alert are particularly striking:

(1) Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007 and (2) Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles, particularly in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana. There is no evidence, however, that U.S. citizens are targeted because of their nationality.

Arguments will continue over whether Mexican President Calderon’s attempt to crackdown on the drug cartels by sending more military troops into the border region has resulted in the disruption of drug deals leading to turf battles. Either way, however, the border regions remain violent and murders continue. It’s probably wise to heed the warning of the State Department.