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A Change in Vacation Plans?

Last week, the US issued another travel advisory for those Americans who choose to cross the border in El Paso to Ciudad Juarez. The latest drug-related violence claimed the life of Benjamin "Benji" Le-Baron, a member of a breakaway Mormon group living near Chihuahua who was an outspoken critic of the violence.

Since 2004, 50 American have been killed in Juarez, with the majority of those deaths coming in the last 18 months. Authorities say that while Americans are not being specifically targeted, US citizenship offers no protection or shield from the violence.

The military "cannot be everywhere all the time and the drug dealers eventually learn their patterns," said Tony Payan, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who studies the problem. Payan said it is a "stroke of luck" that more American citizens have not been killed.

Yet, if you look at this map, it is pretty clear that the spread of drug-related violence knows no boundaries, and is not restricted to Juarez.

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Plenty of people still travel there on vacations and jaunts believing that resort towns like Acapulco, Cancun or Puerto Vallarta are less prone. Of course, in June 18 people died in drug violence in Acapulco. Earlier in the year, in February
drug violence crept into the beach resort of Cancun, albeit in the downtown section away from the hotels. Others go to Baja. The question remains why anyone would consciously subject themselves to the possibility of becoming a victim of the drug violence in Mexico. However, to be fair, still others will cite the low percentages and likelihood of being involved in drug violence in the safety of the resort enclaves.

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