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Press Releases 06

U.S. Embassy Extends Alert to U.S. Citizens to Avoid Travel to Oaxaca and to Remain Vigilant Throughout Mexico

Statement by Ambassador Antonio O. Garza

Mexico City, November 15, 2006 – “The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the U.S. Department of State today announced their decision to extend the current Public Announcement alerting U.S. citizens to the political violence and disorder in Oaxaca City, Mexico. They also decided to expand the Announcement to include security concerns throughout Mexico in light of recent bombings in Mexico City.

“Civil unrest and violence have continued in Oaxaca City, and related protests have taken place in other areas, including Mexico City. Mexican Federal Police continue to be deployed in Oaxaca City, and clashes with the protesters have occurred periodically. Roads can be blocked in Oaxaca and air transport delayed without notice. Violence could escalate, and random shootings could occur at any time.

“On November 5th, three buildings were bombed in Mexico City in acts that appeared to be coordinated and related to the protests in Oaxaca. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured in the bombings.

“In coming weeks, protesters may use the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on November 20th and events surrounding the presidential inauguration on December 1st to initiate additional demonstrations or acts of violence in Oaxaca, Mexico City, and elsewhere in the country. U.S. citizens should be aware that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

“The Public Announcement being made today supersedes the previous Public Announcement on violence in Oaxaca issued on October 30, 2006. This updated Public Announcement will expire on January 18, 2007. The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the situation in Oaxaca and the rest of Mexico on a day-to-day basis to determine whether to alter our advisories in any way.

“A copy of the Public Announcement is attached below.”


Public Announcement
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

MEXICO
November 15, 2006

This Public Announcement updates the Public Announcement for Mexico alerting U.S. citizens to the mounting violence and disorder in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico to include increased security concerns in light of recent bombings in Mexico City. At this time, U.S. citizens should continue to avoid travel to Oaxaca City due to an increase in violence there and should be alert to the increased security concerns related to protest violence throughout Mexico. This Public Announcement expires on January 18, 2007.

On October 27, 2006, an American citizen was shot and killed in Oaxaca City as a result of the violence and disorder caused by civil unrest in the city during the past several months. Several protest groups have engaged in increasingly violent demonstrations, sometimes resulting in violent reactions from other groups.

The Government of Mexico ordered the mobilization of Federal Preventive Police (PFP) to Oaxaca City to restore order to the area on Saturday, October 28, 2006. There are reports that roads within Oaxaca State, including the main highway and secondary roads linking Oaxaca City to Mexico City, may be closed or barricaded at any time, and flights may be temporarily delayed or cancelled at the Xoxocotalan International Airport. Within the city itself, protesters and the PFP frequently engage in confrontations that may become violent, including random shootings. U.S. citizens should continue to avoid travel to Oaxaca City. Those already in Oaxaca should avoid large groups and active demonstrations, and should remain in their homes or hotels, avoiding the downtown and surrounding areas during active demonstrations or PFP operations.

Recent bombings of commercial institutions and the Election Tribunal in Mexico City reportedly were related to the unrest in Oaxaca City and election protests. In the coming weeks, protesters may use the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on November 20 and events surrounding the presidential inauguration on December 1 to initiate additional demonstrations or acts of violence in Oaxaca City, Mexico City, and elsewhere in the country. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should exercise caution, monitor local news reports, and avoid areas where demonstrations are slated to occur.

The State Department reminds U.S. citizens to avoid participating in demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by Mexican authorities. The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

For any emergencies involving American citizens, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Office of Citizens' Consular Services, Reforma Ave 305, Col Cuauhtemoc Mexico, D. F., Mexico CP 06500 Tel: (011)(52)(55) 5080-2000 or e-mail: ccs@usembassy.net.mx. For additional information, please refer to the Embassy website: http://usembassy-mexico.gov.


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