Now, this if there isn't a problem at our border then why is this advisory being issued. Of course, we all KNOW there is a problem at the border but it's a sad day when students have to be advised to take caution and "avoid bad manners" on spring break. I spent several spring breaks at South Padre Island .. we were typical college students back when times were "tamer" ... but we did meet with an unpleasant accident when my new car was rear-ended as two men followed us off the road when I took a turn into a driveway so that we could make a u-turn. Having trouble finding our condo ... it was already late evening. The drivers that hit us were quite inebriated and they weren't even students.

The U.S. Consulate on Wednesday warned spring breakers that they should be safe from the drug violence plaguing the border if they don't do "stuff you would not do at home," like urinate in public - and aren't on the streets at 2 a.m.

See also for a financial blackmailing a Mexican hospital tried to pull on a student injured in Mexico. This story is also FRONT PAGE NEWS on ALIPAC's home page.

'Party smart' guidelines for spring break
U.S. Consul issues advisory to youth: Avoid bad manners

The Associated Press
Updated: 4:08 p.m. ET March 21, 2005

MATAMOROS, Mexico - The U.S. Consulate on Wednesday warned spring breakers that they should be safe from the drug violence plaguing the border if they don't do "stuff you would not do at home," like urinate in public - and aren't on the streets at 2 a.m.

U.S. Consul John Naland said American officials are distributing 10,000 bright yellow fliers at hotels and condominiums around South Padre Island, Texas, upon which college students will descend for spring break and cross the border to enjoy the lower drinking age in Mexico. The fliers will also be sent to border-crossing tour buses.

Naland issued the fliers Wednesday to coincide with the State Department's more sweeping update on foreign travel.

In September 2004, the U.S. consulate issued an advisory for Reynosa, Mexico, across from McAllen, Texas, warning of U.S. tourists and business travelers being shaken down by police. In some cases, the police took tourists to remote ATM machines and ordered them to withdraw money.

That advisory was superseded in January by a more strongly worded State Department alert about drug shootings, kidnappings, and weak police surveillance along the border. U.S. officials said 27 U.S. citizens had been abducted along the Mexican side of the border over six months. Two had been killed.

The alert sparked an outcry among city leaders on both sides of the border, who said it would cripple the thousands of vendors, restaurateurs, disco owners and others who rely on tourists.

With trade spilling back and forth between Matamoros and Brownsville, the mayors of those two cities and of South Padre Island said they would ask the government to tone down the warnings.

Naland said someone traveling in a group to a well-known place should be fine.

"It's very unlikely that any casual tourist would get caught up in the drug violence here unless they're trying to buy drugs," he said. "Spring Breakers are adults. They're eligible to vote, they're eligible to fight in Iraq, they should be able to take care of themselves. But I would not suggest they be here at 2 in the morning."

Naland said his latest message was the same for churches that send youths to Mexico on mission trips during Easter break and throughout the summer. Churches have been calling the consulate daily, he said, worried about the young missionaries' safety.

"We're not saying don't come, not saying 'red light,'" he said. "We're saying when you do come, exercise caution."

Naland said the Spring Break tip sheet was much like one that has been issued for years for college students on trips to Mexican hotspots like Cancun and Acapulco.

The flier advises party-eager youths to avoid the same kind of bad manners one would avoid at home, such as as public intoxication, disrespectful attitudes, and "heeding the call of nature in public." The sheets include a phone number to the consulate.

Church groups are reconsidering their activities in light of the warnings.

Dexton Shores, director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said about 15 percent of the approximately 600 groups that travel to Mexico have canceled.

"Most of the problems seem to be related to drug activity, being in the wrong places that most of our mission groups are never going to be in anyway," he said.

Matamoros, once the raging party spot of South Padre Island's advertised "two-nation vacation" has suffered since the late 1980s, when a Spring Breaker was murdered by drug dealers.

The party seemed to resume until 2002, when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks led to long waits for more thorough Customs inspections. Meanwhile, more students have been taking advantage of package deals to Cancun or the Caribbean.