Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The politics of travel warnings

Today there's more on the politics of Mexico needing to maintain its image in the context of a barrage of media attention on drug violence. The Texas Department of Public Safety issued its own travel warning, as it did last year, telling young Texans that Mexico should not be a spring break destination.

The Mexican Embassy quickly released a rebuttal:

Mexico strongly disagrees with the assessment made by Texan officials regarding travel to Mexico in general. As their number one trading partner and largest export market, Mexico believes Texas should be able to more objectively evaluate facts, providing nuance and context, and in doing so, dispel the notion that their motivation is a clear-cut political agenda.

I am not sure there is a "clear-cut political agenda" beyond a generalized hysteria about the security of the border, though Governor Rick Perry did once say he was open to the idea of sending U.S. troops into Mexico to fight the drug war. I am not an expert on Texan politics, but I can't think of what Texas has to gain by issuing the statement.

The stakes are high, because tourist dollars are important, but the PR battle is getting harder and harder for the Mexican government. It endorses the more nuanced State Department warning, which is still pretty dire. The argument now is that lots of people are being killed in lots of states, but your odds of living are good, and if you're carjacked you'll likely live. That's not a lot better than the Texas version.


Visit Berlin 10:06 AM  

Awesome thanks for marvellous post.

Tivoli Tour 11:07 AM  

Excellent post.

Krista,  4:34 PM  

Have you seen the Mexico Taxi Project (www.mexicotaxiproject.com)commercials? The campaign strikes me as both a unique approach to increasing tourism and an indicator of desperation. Also, thank you for keeping up this blog. I've found it an indispensable resource for news and excellent analysis of the region.

Greg Weeks 7:00 AM  

That's interesting, but yes, it's unfortunate to be reduced to having people say, "I went to Mexico, and actually enjoyed myself" because it seems to embrace the idea that Americans figure they will just get killed.

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