Tuesday, 08 February 2011 11:27

US Consulate Issues Guadalajara Warning, Jalisco Governor Compares Numbers

Written by Keph Senett
Metropolitan zones, Guadalajara Metropolitan zones, Guadalajara Wikimedia Commons

Last week's violence in four Mexican states prompted the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara to issue a statement urging American nationals to avoid driving at night and to use toll roads only. Jalisco Secretary General Fernando Guzman Perez responded with some stark crime statistics, illustrating the unspoken question on many peoples' minds: When put in context, is the situation in Mexico really so dangerous?

On February 1, 2011, a series of seemingly co-ordinated attacks took place in four Mexican states. Despite steady media coverage of the drug violence widely attributed to cartel reaction to Mexican President Filipe Calderone's "war on drugs" policies, this attack was notable for the inclusion of Guadalajara in the list of cities affected. Prior to the battle, which saw public transport vehicles and police stations under attack by fire and grenades, Jalisco state had been relatively exempt from drug violence.

As reported by CNN Mexico on February 4, 2011, the U.S. consulate issued the following statement on its web site: "In light of the change in the security situation, the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara now forbids its officials to travel at night between the city of Guadalajara and its international airport, and encourages its citizens to take similar precautionary measures."

On the same day, Jalisco Secretary General Fernando Guzman Perez fired back a response in a meeting with the press. "We respect the work that the consulate does to its nationals, [but in] Jalisco and the surrounding area, no town is within the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world of murder," Guzman said. "... [there] are five other American cities that [are on that list]."

As pubished on CNN Mexico, the five cities in question, and their murder per capita statistics are: New Orleans with 52 murders per 100,000 residents, Baltimore 34, St. Louis Missouri with 39, Detroit with 33 and Oakland with 23. "[Of the] cities that comprise the metropolitan areas of Guadalajara, none of them exceeded the 13 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data provided by the official," CNN Mexico reported. 

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