MARCH 20, 2012
Keeping with the Obama family’s penchant for costly vacations, the president’s 13-year-old daughter enjoyed spring break in a country plagued by so much violence that the State Department has issued travel warnings to discourage Americans from going there.
But, unlike regular Americans or college spring breakers, Malia Obama and her teenage pals were guarded by an army of Secret Service agents at U.S. taxpayer expense. This is not a story you will see in U.S. media outlets, but one foreign newspaper reported it this week though the link seems to have mysteriously vanished from its website. In fact, the White House has admitted pressuring it to take the story down.
No worries. We’ll recount the story of Malia’s spring break jaunt to Mexico, which appeared in Britain’s Telegraph this week and quotes Mexican authorities. Malia and 12 buddies were guarded by 25 U.S. Secret Service agents as well as local police, while in the historic Mexican city of Oaxaca, the report says. The group of teens stayed at a downtown hotel and visited the area’s famous archeological sites.
Never mind that the State Department has repeatedly warned Americans about travel to Mexico, which is rife with drug-cartel violence. Many U.S. colleges are also discouraging students from vacationing south of the border, a once-popular destination for spring breakers. When your dad’s government warns you against traveling to a country that it has a cozy relationship with, perhaps it’s a good idea to pay attention.
Crime and violence are serious problems throughout Mexico and can occur anywhere, according to a State Department bulletin issued just weeks before the first daughter’s jaunt. It goes on to say that U.S. citizens have fallen victims to drug traffickers, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery. In the last few years nearly 50,000 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico, according to the government warning.
Gun battles take place in towns and cities, in broad daylight, on streets and in other public venues such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped because drug lords create road blocks that prevent even the military and police from responding to criminal activity. Furthermore, the location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable, the State Department warns, after revealing that the rising number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern.
Sounds like a war zone rather than a vacation destination. It’s likely that no responsible parent would let their teenage daughter travel to such a place…without an army of Secret Service agents to guard them.
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