Following a violent start to the Easter holidays in Mexico, during which six people were killed on beaches in Cancun and Acapulco, the government has decided to deploy 4,724 armed forces agents to protect the country’s main tourist areas. The task has been assigned to the National Guard, which has been a part of the army since last year. The mission began last weekend and will continue until April 16, according to Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval, who informed the press of this development.
“The National Guard will cover the Easter holiday period in tourist areas, establishing a series of actions to ensure that people can enjoy this period,” explained the Army Chief. In addition to these agents, 3,800 personnel will monitor highways, and 6 helicopters, 755 patrol cars, 377 Cheyenne trucks, 10 boats, and 45 ATVs will be available.
The objective of the armed forces operation will also be to monitor 14 airports and 42 bus stations with high traffic. The most important tourist destinations covered by this security plan are Cancun and Tulum in Quintana Roo, as well as the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Veracruz, and Acapulco. “These will be the main areas that the plan will address, without neglecting other areas in the country. In all of these areas, Guard personnel will be present with vehicles and will have the support of a helicopter,” said Sandoval.
Mexico: Tourism surge marred by violence
The Easter holiday period began violently on Monday. Four suspected drug dealers were killed by armed men on a beach in front of a hotel in Cancun. In another one of the country’s most famous beaches, Acapulco, two people were shot dead in broad daylight and in front of dozens of visitors in the Caleta area of the port city.
Mexican authorities estimate that this holiday week will generate an income of nearly 9 billion dollars. Mexico is one of the 10 most visited countries in the world, although it is currently experiencing a rise in the number of intentional homicides. So far in 2023, there have been 4,882 murders, an average of 83 per day.
The deployment of armed forces personnel to protect tourist areas during Easter is an important measure to address the surge in violence in Mexico. However, this situation highlights the need for the government to strengthen security measures across the country, especially in areas with high levels of criminal activity. The success of the security plan during the Easter holidays will depend on the coordination between the different security forces and the effectiveness of the measures implemented.