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Mexican president says his country is safer than the United States


Mexico’s president says his country is safer than the US, a week after two US citizens were killed and two others kidnapped in the border town of Matamoros

MEXICO — Mexico’s president said on Monday his country was safer than the United States, a week after two American citizens were killed and two others kidnapped and rescued in the border town of Matamoros.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the US travel warnings and reports of violence in Mexico were the result of a plot by conservative politicians and US media to smear his administration.

Despite López Obrador’s assurances that Mexico was safe to travel to, the FBI confirmed last week that three other women from the small Texas town of Peñitas had been missing in Mexico since late February.

“Mexico is safer than the United States,” López Obrador said during his morning press briefing. “There is no problem traveling safely in Mexico.”

Mexico’s national homicide rate is approximately 28 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the homicide rate in the United States is barely a quarter higher, at around 7 per 100,000.

The president brushed off lingering concerns about the violence. Currently, the US State Department has issued “do not travel” advisories for six of Mexico’s 32 states plagued by drug cartel violence, and “reconsider travel” warnings for seven other states.

“This is a campaign against Mexico by those conservative politicians in the United States who don’t want the transformation of our country to continue,” López Obrador said.

The Mexican president has included American media in the supposed plot.

“These conservative politicians … dominate the majority of news media in the United States,” he said. “This violence is not a reality,” he added. “It’s pure and vile manipulation.”

As if to contradict that statement, police in the industrial and agricultural state of Guanajuato reported that 8 people were shot dead and seven others injured in an attack on a nightclub over the weekend.

Saturday night’s attack killed six men and two women at the club in the largely rural township of Apaseo El Grande, where rival cartels have been battling for control for years.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.