Things That Matter

The US Has Issued New Security Warnings About Travel To Mexico And Here’s What You Should Know

Is Mexico safe? That’s the question many travelers are asking in light of the recent murders of nine Americans who were gunned down in a remote region about 100 miles from the U.S. border. The chilling incident comes on the heels of other highly publicized murders, including an American couple who was killed in front of their 12-year-old son this summer in Guerrero, and 27-year-old honeymooner Tatiana Mirutenko, who was caught in stray gunfire while emerging from a Mexico City bar last December.

Last year, Mexico had the highest number of homicides in the country’s history, with an average of 91 deaths a day — and 2019 is on track to break the record. Drug cartels and criminal organizations are running rampant throughout the country, with lethal results.

So what’s a visitor to do when faced with such grim stories? This is where the US government has stepped in.

The US has increased its warning level for US citizens traveling to Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded its list of places it does not recommend its citizens visit because of widespread cartel violence. DHS has now expanded its ‘Do Not Travel’ list to six states (up from five) and suggests travelers reconsider visiting 11 others.

The Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, and Tamaulipas make up the black list that the U.S. government has asked US Citizens to avoid (including tourist, family, and business visits).

The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State extended the security alert in force since last April, due to “increased criminal activity” in the state of Chihuahua, where nine members of the LeBarón family were massacred. Chihuahua capital already had a travel restriction for U.S. government officials, who could only use Highway 45 and were prohibited from crossing the neighborhoods of Morelos, Villa and Zapata.

Beginning April 9, the U.S. State Department alerted its citizens to the high crime rates and kidnapping risks in the states of Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, and Tamaulipas.

Now most all of Mexico is at a Level 3 or above warning level (on a scale of 1-4).

Even on its travel information page, more than half of Mexico’s territory is listed at level 3, which means a “high risk of violence,” prompting U.S. citizens to reconsider their trips. The rest of the states are at level 2 and the U.S. government advises them to take precautions during their travels because the risk of illegal activity has increased.

Much of these additional warnings come on the heel of several high-profile violent incidents.

There are places that are clearly dangerous, like the border towns. But even some of the bigger resort destinations have had issues. Formerly peaceful Los Cabos has been called the murder capital of the world. An attack in a bar in Cancún in February killed five people, and last year, eight dead bodies were discovered just outside of Cancún’s hotel zone. And on the beaches of Acapulco, people have been getting gunned down in broad daylight while tourists lounge on the beach nearby.

Ok, but despite these warnings you should still feel comfortable traveling to Mexico.

Mexico has long been a popular tourist destination for travelers from the United States. From Spring Break parties in Cancun and Puerto Vallara to hipsters and influencers taking over the beaches of Tulum or the colonial pueblo of San Miguel de Allende, Americans flock to Mexico in huge numbers.

And despite years of ongoing violence that has racked the country, Americans have continued to enjoy all the incredible natural beauty, food, and culture that Mexico has to offer. And none of this necessarily needs to change.

Mexico received # visitors every year from the US and the vast majority of them return home perfectly fine with wonderful stories and souvenirs from their trip. The warnings from the US State Department are simply saying to exercise increase caution and to avoid areas where known illegal activity has occurred.

In Latin America, only a handful of countries receive the State Department’s Level One warning.

Beginning in January 2018, the U.S. government established a new security alert system for travelers, which classifies countries around the world according to their level of danger. It is a tool aimed at tourists and business people who plan to travel abroad.

The ranking of Travel Recommendations of the State Department establishes level 4 as the most dangerous, in which they are labeled with the recommendation “Do not travel” destinations such as Syria, North Korea or Somalia.

At the time of 2018, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia were placed in category 2 and advised U.S. citizens to exercise caution and be aware of the risks of insecurity.

Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador are in category 1 of the ranking drawn up almost two years ago. For all of these countries, the U.S. recommends “exercising normal precautions: this is the lowest warning for insecurity. There are risks in all international travel.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Things That Matter

Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Entertainment

Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

We all remember Carlos Villagrán as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho.” The actor and Mexican icon is now entering the world of politics. Villagrán is entering the race for governor of Querétaro.

Actor and comedian Carlos Villagrán wants to be governor of Querétaro.

Affectionately known as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho,” Villagrán is someone we grew up with. Now, decades after his famous role ended, Villagrán is hoping to open a brand new chapter in his life: politics.

“After 50 years of making people laugh, I find myself on another platform, which does me a tremendous honor,” Villagrán said during a press conference after filing paperwork.

Villagrán has been thinking about entering Mexican politics for a while.

It is never easy to decide if you want to become a politician. Your private life is no longer private and everything you do is suddenly under intense scrutiny. Villagrán did take time mulling over the idea before filing his paperwork to be a candidate for governor of Querétaro. He registered under the local Querétaro Independiente Party.

“I can’t say anything, because I still don’t know anyone and I have to talk to people to find out what it is about. So, I could not say anything at this moment,” Villagrán told El Universal when still debating the idea.

Villagrán created a Twitter account after announcing his candidacy and is hitting the talking points hard.

Villagrán’s official Twitter account has only pushed tweets highlighting QiBook. The social media platform is specific to Querétaro and is hoping to foster some economic and commercial success in the state.

Fans around the world are wishing him so much success.

Villagrán character Quico is one of the most celebrated characters in Latin America. The wild success of “El Chavo del Ocho” has made Villagrán a face that people throughout Latin America know and love.

However, some people are not excited to see another entertainer enter politics.

We have seen entertainers become politicians and it isn’t always a good thing. The current governor of Morales is Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a former soccer player, and people are not loving him and his leadership. We will no better about his chances of running on Feb. 8 when things are finalized.

READ: FIFA21 Releasing ‘El Chavo Del Ocho’ Uniforms To Honor The Icon For Limited Time

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com