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Baja California Officials Say US Travel Alerts Unfair

Audio

Aired 4/20/09

Mexican Tourism officials says US federal agencys' alerts about travel south of the border are unfair. Baja California officials are again turning to a US public relations firm to help tell their story. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Officials with the U-S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms recently discouraged people from traveling to places like Tijuana and Rosarito due to drug cartel violence.

The US State Department also issued an alert that says US citizens have been trapped in shootouts in some border cities. That some gun batlles in Tijuana have broken out during daytime in shopping center and other public places. And that criminals have followed and harassed US citizens driving in Tijuana.

Oscar Esobedo is Baja California's Toursim Secretary. He says the warnings are unjustified. "What's happening is between the people who are in drug trafficking, maybe 98% of it," says Escobedo. "And to the rest of the population, you could say it is safe to visit Baja California."

Drug cartels in Tijuana have not targeted nor killed tourists. Drug violence hasn't hit tourist areas.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.

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