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Heads of state demanding answers about US Embassy travel ban

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo — Heads of state including the secretary of tourism are demanding answers, saying they do not understand why the US Embassy has imposed an employees travel ban and closed its consulate in Playa del Carmen.

Marisol Vanegas, Secretary of Tourism of the state of Quintana Roo, says there is no risk to visitors to Playa del Carmen, although he admits that the perception of insecurity is featured throughout the country.

After the February 21 explosion of a Barcos Caribe ferry, white tubes were found tied to another unused ship from the same company. However, before verification from any of the ongoing investigations, the US Embassy in Mexico City first sent out a security alert for its employees against using the ferry service. That was March 1.

On March 7, the US Embassy posted a travel ban for its employees to the seaside city of Playa del Carmen. They also closed the US consulate office.

On March 7, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City received information about a security threat in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Effective immediately, U.S. Government employees are prohibited from traveling to Playa del Carmen until further notice. The U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen will be closed until further notice.

The governor of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín González, has since released a statement:

In Playa del Carmen and throughout the state, tourist and economic activities take place normally. Hotel occupancy today registers 80 percent in the main tourist destinations. The police forces work day and night to preserve the tranquility of the inhabitants and visitors of Quintana Roo.

 We do not know the reasons for the decision of the United States Government to issue this statement. We are attentive to collaborate with them in providing security to their citizens who visit us. 

 We maintain a relationship of respect, care and protection for our visitors and provide security and attention for them permanently. US visitors are welcome in Quintana Roo and Mexico.

 In the security tasks, the Mexican Army, the Armed Navy of Mexico, the Federal Police, the Public Security Secretariat of the State Government and the municipal corporations participate in a coordinated manner.

Marisol Vanegas says he does not know the reason of closing of the consular agency of the United States in Playa del Carmen.

“What should be done is to streamline the process to understand the results of the investigation of federal authorities,” he said.

Marisol Vanegas says that tourism activity continues with an 80 percent occupancy rate and no registration of hotel cancellations due to security issues.

In an attempt to get answers regarding the employee travel ban, a meeting between state officials and the US Consulate has been scheduled for Monday.