A travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department against traveling to certain Mexican states.
Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas have all been classified as a level-four risk, the highest in the scale.
The advisories cite drug cartel activity and violent crime, and the Tamaulipas warning was very blunt.
US travelers were also warned to avoid unnecessary trips to the Central American nation of Guatemala due to the high criminal violence, sexual assault, armed robbery and gang-related offenses. "Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state".
A statement from the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico (Sectur) reported that 80 percent of the more popular foreign tourist destinations such as Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayari and Mexico City were not included in the travel advisory.
The State Department had earlier asked the U.S. citizens to not travel to all or part of those states, but this time the warnings are stricter as they have been placed on a level 4 - the same category given to war-torn Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. There are no U.S. government restrictions for travel to tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
Violent crimes including homicides, kidnappings, carjackings and robberies are widespread, officials said. Countries labeled "do not travel" present a high likelihood of of life-threatening risks for travelers, and US government officials stationed in those places have "very limited ability" to assist Americans in distress, according to the State Department. It assigns a level 3 rating ("reconsider travel") to states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Zacatecas.
Baja California Sur has the second-highest homicide rate in Mexico at 61.6 per 100,000, despite only having a level two caution at the moment. But on Wednesday, an additional 11 states got a level-3 rating, placing half of the North American country under level-3 or 4 warnings.
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