Once-popular Mexican resort city of Acapulco plagued with deadly cartel and gang violence

 May 23, 2024

The deadly violence wrought in Mexico by feuding drug cartels and street gangs has surged in recent years and elevated the level of danger in even tourist areas like Acapulco which were previously considered to be safe.

A group of six bodies were found bound and strangled in the resort city on Monday just days after the dismembered bodies of five others, including a local politician, were discovered on the streets, according to Fox News.

The violence has prompted the U.S. State Department to urge Americans against traveling to the once-popular and flourishing beachside city on the Pacific Ocean due to the excessive crime and violence and the risk of being kidnapped and killed or held for ransom.

Acapulco's deadly violence in recent weeks and months

Newsweek reported on the surging "string of violence" in Acapulco with the latest incident involving the discovery on Monday of a pile of dead bodies that included four men and two women who'd been strangled to death with their hands bound behind their backs.

That incident is under investigation as are at least two other fatal shooting incidents in other parts of the city on Monday that left a combined four people dead and at least three others wounded.

Just last week, the pieces of five dismembered bodies were found "scattered" on Acapulco's streets, including a local town council candidate from a nearby town and his wife, who were discovered in trash bags inside a vehicle.

In April, the city's chief of traffic police was openly gunned down in the street, and in previous months this year, multiple victims have been found either shot or strangled to death on the city's beaches.

State Department explicitly warns against travel to Acapulco and Guerrero state

Acapulco is located in the Mexican state of Guerrero, and according to Newsweek is ranked as the ninth-deadliest city in Mexico and the tenth-deadliest city in the world, with the broader state not faring much better, as Guerrero reportedly suffered nearly 1,900 murders in 2023 as a result of cartel and gang violence.

That high level of violence has led to a sharp reduction in tourism and the economic benefit those tourists previously brought to the region, and the U.S. State Department has specifically warned U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents from traveling there.

"Do not travel due to crime. Crime and violence are widespread," the warning stated. "Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping in previous years."

Political and cartel violence occurring in other parts of Mexico

Of course, it isn't just Acapulco and Guerrero state that have become exceptionally dangerous places in Mexico, as the State Department has also warned against any travel to five other Mexican states due to the threat of crime and kidnapping, has urged people to "reconsider travel" to seven other states, and called for travelers to "exercise increased caution" when traveling to all but two of the remainder of Mexico's several states.

Nor is the violence only occurring in the once-safe resort areas or near Mexico's northern border with the U.S., as CNN reported last week that a prominent mayoral candidate and five others were gunned down during a political campaign event in the southern state of Chiapas near the border with Guatemala.

That area, given its status as a "lucrative" route for the smuggling of drugs and migrants, has increasingly become the location of a turf war between competing cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, who have no qualms about resorting to lethal violence to exert or expand their control.

Unfortunately, the Mexican national government and local authorities are either unwilling or unable -- if not compromised and complicit -- to effectively do anything to stem the deadly violence that has reduced much of Mexico to little more than a corrupt narco-terrorist state.

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