GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, MEXICO - The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Feb. 3 issued a safety recommendation that all U.S. citizens not drive at night in the Guadalajara area because of escalated criminal activity there.
The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara is also prohibiting U.S. Government officials from traveling after dark between Guadalajara and the Guadalajara International Airport.
A number of major American corporations have operations in the region.
The warning specifically cites violence that took place the evening of Feb. 1, when a series of road blockades were set up in various sections of the Guadalajara metropolitan area. Buses, trucks and cars were forcibly commandeered and set on fire. "One of the blockades was installed on the Chapala highway between Guadalajara and the airport at the same point that was targeted on the evening of Saturday, January 15th," the warning stated.
The U.S. Consulate General offers these additional safety recommendations for drivers traveling in the region:
- Make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll ("cuota") roads which generally are more secure.
- Delay any travel if media reports road closures due to police or emergency responder activity.
- If the road in front of you has been blocked due to a security incident or natural disaster, attempt to return to your point of origin using available alternate routes.
- If you are presented with an imminent threat on the road, do not hesitate to run over any median (or similar obstacle) to make an emergency U-turn to get out of harm's way.
- If physical barriers along the road prevent emergency evasive action in any direction, locate a restaurant, shopping mall, hotel, or another business establishment where you can temporarily remove your vehicle from the road and take cover until the road is clear.
- If you are driving or walking and you hear or see gun fire and/or explosions, take immediate evasive action, get down on the ground or behind a solid barrier (engine block, tree planter, etc.) and evacuate the area as soon as it is safe to move.
- Always call "066" (equivalent of 911 in the U.S.) immediately if you are exposed to a life-threatening situation requiring emergency police or fire responders.
The State Department also recommends that U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico enroll with the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate via the online registration service through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (http://travel.state.gov). Travel registration allows the State Department to contact U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency and to provide up-to-date safety and security information.