STATEMENT: Delegate Security in Mexico

Witness for Peace Mexico Team

Security Statement | Revised May, 2013

Greetings from the Witness for Peace Mexico Team,

Witness for Peace prioritizes the safety and security of our staff and delegates at all our program sites. Our staff in Mexico stays informed about the situation and consults regularly with our security contacts and constantly analyzes any potential impact of current events on safety and security, including during delegations.

Witness for Peace maintains a delegations program in Mexico and communicates the following regarding security in Mexico. As you may know, Witness for Peace’s Mexico program works mainly in Oaxaca, Mexico City and the surrounding area (which includes the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala), Chiapas, and occasionally, and always with thorough investigation of the current situation in the region, Veracruz as well. In this statement, we address broader security concerns. Delegates traveling with WFP receive much more detailed information about day to day safety and personal security in Mexico.

Travel in Mexico

The team continues to take every precaution necessary when traveling, and monitors the situation closely. Throughout Mexico, there have been reports of illegal roadblocks (or “blockades”), robberies and kidnappings of people traveling by train, car, or bus, especially in the northern states. These occur most often late at night, on isolated roads. When we travel on delegations, we always take a first class bus during daylight hours on major highways and toll roads (or “cuotas”) that are populated with many other vehicles and various military check points. When taking private transport, we contract with trusted business associates who have worked closely with us over the years and are familiar with the security situation in Mexico. Currently, we are assessing the security conditions for nighttime travel. At this point we travel significant distances outside of major cities only during daylight hours

Security in Mexico City and the Surrounding Area

Daily life in Mexico City has by and large not been affected by drug-war related violence. This violence is largely confined to the northern border region, a thousand miles from the capital city, but has also occurred in Acapulco, Veracruz, and Cuernavaca. It is a serious situation, and we treat it as such. There is an armed conflict over control of smuggling and trade routes between drug cartels and also a sustained conflict between those cartels and Mexican security forces. In addition, there is strong evidence of o collusion between organized criminal groups and Mexican security forces. However, this does not mean that it is not safe to visit Mexico City or the vast majority of places in Mexico. We encourage everyone traveling to Mexico City to take all the appropriate safety measures that you would take in any large city. The team has not perceived any threats to security for travelers in Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Security in Oaxaca

A mentioned above, WFP work is based in Oaxaca City, where there is relative calm, and daily life proceeds as normal.  Many people, from all over the world, visit Oaxaca regularly as tourists and students. There are areas of serious conflict focused in specific areas of the state of Oaxaca, which we are careful to avoid. We maintain close communication with several security contacts in the area, and although we don’t anticipate any threat to our team, we always monitor the security situation here very closely through our security contacts. Like Mexico City, it is important to take appropriate safety measures that any traveler would take anywhere.

We believe that it is more important now than ever for U.S. citizens to visit Mexico.  U.S. citizens should come to Mexico and meet face to face with Mexican people and organizations.- This kind of direct encounter is the basis for real international understanding and friendship, and remains the best antidote to counter sensational news reports, stereotypes and misinformation about Mexico and the United States. Furthermore, this exchange is vital to our mission to support peace, justice, and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices in Latin America.It can be very difficult, with all the sensational headlines coming out of Mexico, to get a picture of what daily life on the ground is like. It continues as normal in most parts of Mexico. If there is a serious change in the situation in Mexico that compromises the safety of visitors, we will act upon this information immediately.

If you would like more information or have any questions for us, feel free to contact the Mexico team: