...unauthorized checkpoints have been set up by unknown persons at night
Phoenix, AZ (Vocus) May 27, 2010
The U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Sonora commonly releases travel advisories for different parts of Mexico, but the most recent warrant, which was released on May 19, 2010, left many people on both sides of the border wondering where the Consulate was receiving this alarming information. It stated that "...unauthorized checkpoints have been set up by unknown persons at night"... and ..."motorists who have not stopped at unofficial checkpoints have been shot at and killed"... Because of this, Seaside Reservations, a Rocky Point property management company along with many other American owned businesses have suffered economic loss unnecessarily.
Oscar Palacio, the President of Rocky Point Convention and Visitors bureau, has placed many calls and has had extensive conversations with actual consulate staff, they have now admitted that they have no proof for supporting the travel warning that was issued. Although true that there have been check points setup by the government along highway 8 from time to time, they are there to protect the public by enhancing security. It has also become known that, the person issuing the original message, was not employed by the Consulate office but, merely a private citizen operating as a volunteer. Marcia House, one of the consulate staff, clarified that the shootings had actually occurred in other parts of northern Mexico like Juarez but not along Highway 8.
Some of the business leaders in Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point as it is known by most Arizonans, met the following Monday to talk about the flood of calls and emails that they have received due to the warning given out regarding Highway 8, the most traveled road to Rocky Point.
The AFI, which is Mexico's intelligence service stated that these reported events have not been occurring on Highway 8. Likewise, Genaro GarcÍa Luna, the director of Mexico's Federal Highway Patrol assured the community that the events warned of in the travel advisory regarding Highway 8 were totally false, and that nothing like that had taken place on that road. The State Attorney General of Sonora, Murrietta Abel Gutierrez and the Federal Attorney General, Arturo Chávez have stated that violence on Highway 8 is not occurring. The Rocky Point Chief of Police Erick Landagaray was "stunned" to hear that the consulate would issue a warning like this when there was no evidence to substantiate it.
The Director of International Relations for Rocky Point, Fausto Soto agreed that public safety trumps economic impact to Puerto Penasco and that travelers should be fully informed about current conditions. However in this case the U.S. Consulate has created a climate of fear based on a rumor, and by issuing this erroneous travel advisory they have harmed the American community in Rocky Point which consists of over 10,000 residents and business owners.
Steve Schwab, owner of Seaside Reservations, a large property management company in Puerto Penasco says that he has been traveling back and forth to Rocky Point, Mexico for the past 10 years and has been taking his 6 year old son back and forth since he was a baby and claims that he has never had a problem. “ We travel at all times of the day and night back and forth from Rocky Point to Phoenix and have never had a problem”
Negative media reports on Mexico travel commonly occur right before major traveling holidays. It is unfortunate that the federal government is adding fuel to fire by issuing warnings that have no basis in fact. The issuance of warnings that are unsubstantiated are a violation of the Consulate's stated policies. The U.S. Consulate had no legitimate reason scare the travelers out of their vacations. The residents of Rocky Point hope that travelers will not cease to vacation there, regardless of what rumors are told, and who tells them.
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