Mexico questions U.S. travel advisory

The Mexican government said Monday that an ongoing political standoff poses no threat to tourists visiting the picturesque southern city of Oaxaca, dismissing a travel advisory issued by the U.S. Embassy.“We continue inviting tourists from all over the world to visit Mexico, which offers all the security conditions for tourist activity,” presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar told reporters at his daily briefing.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City announced Sunday that it was extending an earlier recommendation that U.S. citizens contemplating a visit to Oaxaca “consider carefully the risk of travel at this time due to the recent increase in violence there.”

The conflict began in late May when 70,000 unionized teachers walked off the job to demand a pay raise. It was transformed into a broader movement to oust state Gov. Ulises Ruiz after June 14, when police used force to break up a sit-in by strikers in the main square of Oaxaca city, the capital of the likenamed state.

Though a number of anti-Ruiz activists have been killed, Aguilar pointed out Monday that “there has not been any problem with any tourist in the city of Oaxaca.”

He went on to cite the absence of attacks on tourists anywhere in the country, “despite the acts of violence within organized crime,” apparently alluding to last week’s warning from the U.S. Embassy against travel to areas of Mexico that have become battlegrounds for warring drug cartels.