Consul general says travel to Mexico still safe, if precautions taken

Motorists head into Mexico at the border in San Ysidro, California. File photo.
Motorists head into Mexico at the border in San Ysidro, California. File photo.
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

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Burial is scheduled this week for Bobby Salcedo, a popular El Monte educator fatally shot in Mexico on New Year’s Eve. Mexico’s consul general in Los Angeles says the incident, while tragic, shouldn’t discourage travel to Mexico.

Salcedo and his wife were visiting her family in northern Mexico. The couple went out for drinks with some friends in the region where she grew up. That area, a busy industrial center, has become a hot zone for drug cartel violence. That’s the reason, investigators believe, gunmen shot Salcedo and four other men to death.

Mexican consul general in Los Angeles Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez said that the investigation’s taken on high priority in Mexico. "I spoke to several members of the community of El Monte, that communicate to me the concern and I immediately talked to the ambassador of Mexico in the United States, who at the time was in Mexico City. That helped and the undersecretary, at the maximum level."

Mexican authorities have said they believe the killings were the work of area drug cartels. On Monday, thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil at which Salcedo’s brother urged those in attendance to pressure Mexican officials to find the gunmen.

Consul Gutierrez-Gonzalez said that the slaying, while tragic, should not discourage travelers from visiting his country as long as they take precautions about their surroundings. "You can travel to Mexico. We invite you to visit Mexico but once there, take your precautions. I’m not saying the Salcedos didn’t take their precautions. I think they are victims of something else we don’t know yet."

Gutierrez-Gonzalez said the Mexican government regrets what happened to Salcedo and expresses condolences to Salcedo and his family. U.S. and Mexican federal authorities are investigating the incident.