Mexico's Drug War Violence Spring Break 2011"Oh, Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go," James Taylor sang in his idyllic 1975 ode to our neighbors to the south.

Twenty-six years later, though, things are a bit more complicated.

Escalating violence largely stemming from the cross-border drug trade has caused Texas authorities to advise spring break revelers to avoid visiting Mexico, which drew a counterargument from Mexican tourist authorities who say that traveling south of the border remains safe. At stake is a chunk of the approximately $12 billion that tourists spend in Mexico each year. Mexico attracted about 22 million foreigners to the country last year, one in nine of whom flew there from Texas, according to the Mexico Tourism board.

In issuing its warning earlier this month, the Texas Department of Public Safety cited the murders this year in Mexico of a U.S. immigration agent and three other Texans, and pointed to figures showing that as many as 65 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico in 2010. It also warned of criminal activity at Falcon Lake, part of the Rio Grande which separates the U.S. and Mexico. A number of Americans have been victims of robberies on and around the lake, located about 175 miles southwest of Corpus Christi, Texas.

"Various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S. citizens often go unpunished," DPS Director Steven C. McCraw said in a statement earlier this month. "Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive."

That warning followed up a Feb. 17 statement from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico advising Americans to avoid traveling to or through the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

There's No Better Time to Visit, Says Mexico

The warnings have since spurred a public relations campaign from Mexico's Tourism Board espousing the fun and relative safety of the country.

"Internationally-celebrated destinations such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta to name a few, are among the safest, most welcoming and relaxing tourist destinations in the world," the Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement last week. "There could not be a better time to visit Mexico."

What kind of effect the violence and the ensuing warnings will have on the number of visitors Mexico attracts for spring break remains to be seen. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 100,000 students go to Mexican resorts for spring break annually, with resort towns like Cancun, Acapulco and Mazatlan among the bigger draws.

With drug violence up in Acapulco as well as in the Mexico towns closest to spring break destination South Padre Island, Texas, though, the State Department's endorsement of a March or April trip to Mexico is less than enthusiastic.

"While the vast majority enjoys their vacation without incident, several may die, hundreds will be arrested, and still more will make mistakes that could affect them for the rest of their lives," the State Department writes on its website. While it doesn't suggest that spring breakers avoid Mexico, its long and detailed list of warnings and precautions for tourists offers a clear message: If you go, be careful.

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Florida has Beaches as nice as Mexico and a lot safer. Ceep your Dollars at home .We are not apreciated in Mexico all that is wanted is the money, to hell with your safety.People with Money live behind walls with Guards that are armed in Mexico that should tell you how save it is.

March 21 2011 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let Mexico clean up its act.

March 18 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

If Bush had not commited us to a hundred years war in the middle east ,we could have our troops protecting our borders

March 17 2011 at 6:01 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Take a Math course , Disgraceful

March 17 2011 at 5:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kyjess's comment

Agreed. Can I have 10 years back just like that?

March 18 2011 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Marijuana has repeatedly been proven to NOT cause cancer, heart disease, brain damage, liver disease, emphysema, or overdoses, and its addiction potential is about on par with coffee. The DEA is 100% misinformed when it calls marijuana "extremely harmful"!

The marijuana prohibition empowers drug dealers and the cartels, and makes our children LESS safe! Because of the failings of the prohibition, our children now have easier access to marijuana than to alcohol! We parents have been patient long enough, we must speak up and demand that marijuana be legally sold to adults in gas stations and supermarkets just as beer and wine are today!

We need laws based on logic, not ideology! We need to end Richard Nixon's failed marijuana prohibition and Legalize Adult Marijuana Sales!!

March 17 2011 at 4:19 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to jway862's comment

no mas.. Mexico.. no mas..

March 17 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My wife and I who are American Citizen's have gone to Mexico on vacation's a number of times and we injoyed ourselve but in the last few years things have gotten dangerous, If you must go and want to stay out of trouble, I suggest you stay in the hotel resort general area and you should be be OK but always be aware of that is going on around you.

March 17 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to n2uog's comment

how much of America have you seen ? mexico is a country of beauty but spoiled by the rich mexicans and thier poor, the richest man on earth lives in mexico city, why dont he help the poor he should be hanged along with the rest of his rich ass family

March 17 2011 at 6:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mom and Dad

Screw Mexico. Like I'm ever going there ever again. Spring break? Are you kidding me? A break from what? Hey, we're out of school for a week, lets go to Mexico and get raped, mugged, carjacked and our head cut off. Hmmm, sounds like fun.

March 17 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Nobody should even consider going to Mexico or Baja. The gangs are there waiting to rob you or kill you. There is no governmental structure that can prevent any American from falling prey to the lawless gangs. Even the cruise lines are declining to stop at Mexican ports. The whole country will fall into revolution and we can't start on that electrified border fence fast enough. The military should guard the borders and shoot anyone trying to cross. I see illegals every day hanging around grocery parking lots. If they can't work, they steal.

March 17 2011 at 3:54 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

Stay in the USA. Mexico is not safe and extremely unreliable if you are involved with the authorities down there. For ANY reason.

March 17 2011 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cljvedelman's comment

i just returned from mex. an found it to be safe an beautiful.u can get in trouble in any large city in u,s.its where u go in those cities

March 17 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
Mom and Dad

You sound like a travel agent.

March 17 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply