Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Routes => Topic started by: Westinghouse on February 21, 2009, 12:24:53 am

Title: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on February 21, 2009, 12:24:53 am
This alert was on the front page of today. It does not say to avoid Mexico. It says to avoid areas along the border where prostitution and drugs are commodities. The problem as I see it is this. Unless you already know where these trouble areas are, or unless somebody tells you places to avoid, you would have to already be in such a place before you would be able to recognize it. I suppose you could try to flag down border patrol and ask them about certain stretches of road and towns where you will be going.

MEXICO CITY – The U.S. State Department has renewed a travel advisory warning Americans about an increase in violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The alert does not recommend staying away from the country or any particular part of it, but advises American to stay away from prostitution and drug-dealing areas.

It recommends visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas.

The alert issued Friday says violent crime is particularly worrisome along the U.S.-Mexico border, where automatic weapons and grenades have been used in clashes between police and drug traffickers.

More than 6,000 people were killed in drug violence in Mexico last year.

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
Post by: sam21fire on February 23, 2009, 11:36:58 am
I work for a Department of Defense agency and can confirm and add to this message...  All DoD employees (civilian and military) are mandated to obtain written permission from their Major Command (MAJCOM) and a comprehensive Force Protection briefing before traveling to areas in Mexico along the US/Mex border, ie; Tijuana, Nogales, Juarez, etc.  I've read the classified reports of events that have been going on for the past 6-12 months and I won't go, or allow my family to go, anywhere near the border.  Your nationality, race or experience will not provide any protection and could actually make you more of a target.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
Post by: sam21fire on February 23, 2009, 11:38:18 am
Just an addtion to the above, tourist areas along the border are NOT considered safe in any way.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
Post by: TCS on February 24, 2009, 09:20:51 am
In the off chance that someone in Japan, Latvia or New Zealand is reading this while considering riding the Southern Tier:

Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier is routed entirely in the USA.  It is near the US/Mexico border only in the vincinity of the American cities of San Diego, California and El Paso and Del Rio, Texas.   All three of these wonderful multi-cultural cities are modern, well policed American municipalities with vibrant tourism.

As on any of Adventure Cycling's routes, a rider on the Southern Tier will face far, far more peril from ordinary traffic than anything else.

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
Post by: alpineMc on February 24, 2009, 05:08:26 pm
Here is the State Department travel wrning for Mexico.

Please note that this is for travel within Mexico, and as mentioned before, the Southern Tier is routed entirely within the US. Anyone using common sense should be fine.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
Post by: Westinghouse on February 24, 2009, 05:58:37 pm
I was cycling from Florida to San Diego just about three years ago. I was on the southern tier, part of ACA's mapped route between Van Horn, TX and El Paso. For quite a distance the road runs right along the border. Going west I could look to my left over level or near flat ground and see the houses clearly on the other side of the Rio Grande in Mexico. A border patrol truck pulled up in back of me and asked me to stop. This I did. There were two officers who got out of their truck. They asked me where I was going, where I had started out from, and when I had started the trip. The usual questions. Then they told me this. If anyone at all should motion or signal to me from the side of the road or from anywhere to stop for any reason, do not stop; keep right on going. They said their had been quite a bit of illegal drug activity on the American side of the border. They said two people had gone over the border into Mexico in one of those small border towns. They found their bodies. They had been robbed and murdered.

From reading S-tier journals I noticed some people cycling through El Paso like to lay over there a while and visit Mexico.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 14, 2009, 10:45:05 pm
Front Page March 15, 2009.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Police acting on a tip found seven bodies partially buried in the desert on the outskirts of the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, an official said Saturday.

Investigators are searching the desert site south of the city to see whether there are any more bodies.

An official with the state prosecutor's office who declined to be named in line with department policy says a police officer's badge was found at the site. Authorities were working to identify the bodies.

Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas, has been hit by a wave of drug-fueled violence, prompting federal authorities to dispatch thousands of soldiers.

There is more to this story.

Not mentioned with story above.

Another word to those planning to visit Ciudad Juarez during a stopover in El Paso. Hundreds of women have been murdered there in a relatively short space of time. Some killers have been caught, and others are still roaming free, but the fact is hundreds have been murdered with their bodies dumped in many different areas. There should be information about this on the web. The watchword is caution.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 15, 2009, 08:09:26 am
Ciudad Juarez according to Wikipedia.

[edit] Drug cartel violence
Main article: Mexican Drug War
Recent violence among rival drug cartels has resulted in almost half of Mexico's 8330 drug related murders reported to have taken place since January 2007; Juarez now has by far the highest murder rate in Mexico.[12] Recent murders in the city have grown not only in numbers, but also in barbarity. In late 2008, one murder victim was found near a school hanging from a fence with a pig's mask on his face, and another one was found beheaded hanging from a bridge in one of the busier streets of the city.[13] Journalist Charles Bowden, in an August 2008 GQ article, wrote that multiple factors, including drug violence, government corruption, and poverty have unleashed a disordered violence that now permeates the city.[14] [8]

In January 2004, Ciudad Juarez police unearthed a mass grave containing 12 bodies in a backyard. Mexican investigators found 19 more bodies buried in the backyard of a house in Ciudad Juarez, increasing the tally of corpses found there to 36, officials said March 15, 2008. Federal agents began digging in the yard on March 1, 2008, initially finding six dismembered bodies. Ciudad Juárez has been plagued by violence as Mexico's crackdown on powerful drug cartels stokes turf wars among traffickers who have been linked to thousands of killings in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The body count in Mexico stands at 5,400 slayings in 2008, more than double the 2,477 reported in 2007, officials said, with over 1400 in Ciudad Juárez alone.[15] [16] The population of Ciudad Juarez had to change their daily routine and many try to stay home in the evening hours. Public life is almost paralyzed out of fear of being kidnapped or hit by a stray bullet. On 20 February 2009, the U.S. State Department announced in an updated travel alert that "Mexican authorities report that more than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since January 2008." [17]

After being widely considered the most violent city in Mexico, "Nearly 2,000 Mexican soldiers and armed federal police poured into the border town of Ciudad Juarez" in late February. This move by the military came after it was reported that "250 people were killed there by hitmen fighting for lucrative smuggling routes" in the city.[18]

On 12 March 2009, police found "at least seven" partially buried bodies in the outskirts of the city, close to the mexican border. Five severed heads were discovered in ice boxes, along with notes to rivals in the drug-wars. Beheadings, attacks on the police and shootings are common in some regions.[19]

[edit] Female sexual homicides
Main article: Female homicides in Ciudad Juárez
Over the past 10 years Juárez has seen over 400 women fall victims to sexual homicides, their bodies often dumped in ditches or vacant lots. In addition, grassroots organizations in the region report that 40 remain missing. Despite pressure to catch the killers and a roundup of some suspects, few believe the true culprits have been found. A 2007 book called The Daughters of Juarez, by Teresa Rodriguez,[20] implicates high-level police and prominent Juárez citizens in the crimes. This topic is also discussed in the 2006 book "The Harvest of Women" by journalist Diana Washington Valdez,[21] as well as in the novel 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, in which Ciudad Juarez is veiled as Santa Teresa. The sheer number of murders overwhelmed the local authorities which led to the construction of a US$6-million, high-tech laboratory complex that is a legacy of those killings. After an outcry over what was widely viewed as a slipshod investigation, international donors chipped in to help the State of Chihuahua build an unusually well-equipped forensics operation. It boasts a ballistics lab, chemical and genetic testing, DNA analysis and a morgue capable of storing nearly 100 bodies. But the murder rate of 2008 even overwhelmed this top of the line facility and during the peak of the murder spree refrigerated containers have to make do with the record numbers of murder victims.

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: TCS on March 16, 2009, 02:11:33 pm
Perhaps I misunderstood the original post.

If one is looking for a safe place to ride, tryst and toke, I'd definitely recommend Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

(Disclaimer:  I don't have any personal experience, but I keep my ears open and things do come up in conversations with other cycle tourists.)

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 16, 2009, 10:58:36 pm
It is kind of strange. Ciudad Juarez is the most violent, crime-ridden city in all of Mexico, and right across that narrow river is El Paso which is listed as one of the top ten safest cities in the USA; it was number three in the scale I saw. Talk about dualities and culture. Just a word to the wise. It is normal for those laying over in El Paso to want to visit Mexico, buy some things, and ship them home. It is a good idea to be cautious when going there.
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 18, 2009, 07:23:32 am
Front page March 18, 2009.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is sending 37 agents to the region, while the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency may reassignment at least 90 officers to the border, and official familiar with the plan said. The official requested anonymity because the plan has not yet been announced.

The deployments are part of President Barack Obama's first moves to boost federal security on the U.S. side of the border.

The additional immigration agents could double the size of an ongoing ICE task force that has been working with other federal agencies to fight the criminal organizations contributing to the border violence.

The ATF agents will be added to anti-gunrunning teams in McAllen, Texas; El Centro, Calif.; and Las Cruces, N.M., as well as to U.S. consulates in Juarez and Tijuana. Some of the reinforcement costs will be covered with economic recovery money recently approved by Congress.

The U.S.-Mexico border has been a different problem for Obama than it was for his predecessor, George W. Bush. While Bush sent National Guard troops to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, Obama's first moves are designed more to keep violence from spilling across the border.

There's a lot more to this story.

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 24, 2009, 07:30:24 am
We are aware the southern tier of ACA's bicycling route is totally within the boundaries of the United States. It also runs very near the border. It is right at the border for quite some distance. Below this paragraph you see thge latest warning about the border lands. Posted on on 24 March 2009. There is quite a bit more to the story.

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress may be alarmed by the surge in Mexican drug violence and its potential to spill across the border, but they grow silent when the talk turns to gun control as a solution.

With related kidnappings and killings occurring in the U.S., the Obama administration is likely to shift dozens of enforcement agents and millions of dollars to the fight against Mexican drug cartels.

Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 24, 2009, 10:53:01 pm
Front page, 25 March 2009. If you are planning a ride on the southern tier bike route, and somebody tells you it is all safe, andthe problem is in Mexico, keep in mind they are not going to be on that route, You Are. There is much more to the article you see here.

WASHINGTON — An epidemic of drug-related violence that has claimed thousands of lives in northern Mexico and begun to spill over into U.S. border cities has once again thrust Mexico into the first tier of President Barack Obama's security concerns.
The administration announced Tuesday that it's sending more federal agents and high-tech equipment to the U.S.-Mexican border in an attempt to blunt violence in both countries. One aim is to stanch the flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico , which Mexican officials say is fueling the drug wars
Title: Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Areas.
Post by: Westinghouse on March 25, 2009, 07:58:21 am
If just over 4000 American troops have been killed in Irag in all these years, and some 7000 people have been killed in northern Mexico in a year, what does that tell you? It is a war zone.

Personally, I think it is safe to cycle the southern tier in the areas along the Mexican border, but the fact is it might not be either.