MEXICO CITY – It is an annual ritual, a pilgrimage that Mexicans living in the United States make to visit hometowns and families for the holidays.
But this year, the terrifying drug war violence sweeping parts of the country is taking its toll.
The Mexican government is warning travelers who are driving home for the holiday season – many from Southern California – to move in convoys and only during daylight hours while on Mexican roads.
These convoys can be “escorted or monitored” if travelers check in with federal agents upon crossing the border south, the government said. The Mexican army is also offering protection.
The recommendation signals an acknowledgement that holdups and violence on Mexico’s roads attributed to drug trafficking gangs could affect the upcoming holiday travel crush.
“When our own government says it’s not safe to travel in our own country, it really makes you feel sad,” Luis Garcia, who presides over one of the numerous clubs and associations that Mexicans belong to in the Los Angeles area, said in a telephone interview from Lynwood, Calif.