A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Friday, Dec. 21, 2012

Tijuana slayings in 2012 at 359, a drop of 120, official says

Drop in homicides backs Baja California officials' statements that state is safer for tourism;
However, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter is now calling for a tourism boycott because of the monthslong jailing of a former Marine in Matamoros for bringing an antique weapon across border
Update, Dec. 22: Ex-Marine is released.

Update, Dec. 23: Baja California governor criticizes Hunter's methods

     The number of violent deaths in Tijuana is 359 this year, a drop of 120 from last year, Abel Galván Gallardo, a top state prosecutor in Tijuana, told El Mexicano newspaper.

     Baja California officials have been complaining that the State Department, while giving the green light for Americans to travel to Baja California, urges that they exercise caution in doing so. The officials point to a drop in slayings in Tijuana, and say that cruise lines now feel comfortable enough to expand the number of their stops in Ensenada. Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán said this week that the Carnival cruise ship Imagination plans to start docking in Ensenada in 2014.

     Meanwhile, hopes for more U.S. tourism may have taken a blow when U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican who represents San Diego County, called for a travel boycott to Mexico until a former U.S. Marine jailed in Matamoros is released. The Washington Times reported that Jon Hammar has been shackled in his cell after bringing his grandfather's antique shotgun across the border in August. Story, U-T San Diego.

Update, Dec. 22: Hammar is released, crosses border. Story, San Antonio-Express-News.

       Mexico has very strict gun laws, and has at times brought down the house on Americans who accidentally crossed the border with weapons without taking into account extenuating circumstances.

Hunter's press release on the matter. Story, El Mexicano.

Update, Dec. 23: Baja California José Guadalupe Osuna Millán criticizes Hunter's calling for a boycott over the matter of the ex-Marine. Story, Frontera (PDF).

Story on Baja California officials and the State Department tourism warning.

Columnist Sergio Sarmiento, in story about how Tijuana Xolos national soccer championship has restored pride to Baja California, writes that Tijuana violence may be down, but Baja California deaths overall are not that different from 2008.