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Some families changing Mexico holiday travel plans due to cartel violence

Friday, December 14, 2012

The holidays are a time for families to come together, but when your loved ones live south of the border it can give you pause. With drug-related violence still a major concern, some families are changing their plans.

At the Mexican Consulate in Houston, the lines are always long; and during the holidays, even more so, with people going home to visit their families.

"They spend Christmas there and also New Years is a very important date for Mexicans," said Fernanda Villanueva with the Mexican Consulate.

The problem is getting there safely for those who travel by car. Cartel violence is ongoing and the military has been sent in to some areas after Mexican police officers were killed this month. The consulate provides a list of travel safety recommendations to those going home. Even so, Eddie Aragon says there's still a risk and fewer people are willing to take it.

"There aren't as many vehicles as there used to be and the other thing, the place where you're going, not as many of them; not half of the vehicles that used to," Aragon said.

Carmen Aguillar is one of those who's decided to let someone else do the driving after a bad experience across the border.

"I think it's better and more sure to travel by bus," said Aguillar.

Apparently more people are. It's a busy time of year for bus companies that serve cities in Mexico. It's the way this cab driver travels home.

"I take a bus. I don't take no money, no nothing," said Alfonso Vasquez.

The Mexican Consulate recommends not taking a lot of presents if traveling as that might attract unwanted attention and invite problems. And that, says Vasquez, is "pretty sad, I hope soon it gets better."

The consulate says there will be additional federal police on duty at checkpoints to assure travelers.

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