Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 27, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Mexico Travel Warning


  • Javier Tapia, Tourism Coordinator for the State of Sonora discusses the safety of travel to Rocky Point and other parts of Mexico in light of a recent travel warning issued by the U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Mexico.
Guests:
  • Javier Tapia - Tourism Coordinator, State of Sonora, Mexico


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
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A recent U.S. travel advisory warned Americans against driving after dark to rocky point. The advisory referred to unauthorized checkpoints between Lukeville and Puerto Penasco. Here to address those concerns is Javier Tapia, coordinator of the Sonoran tourism commission. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Javier Tapia:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Your thoughts on this advisory.

Javier Tapia:
We are very upset because there's nothing about that in the reality. We are asking the people to go to rocky point safe. We received the advisory, don't go to rocky point because they say it was made by the consulate of Nogales, and we tried to talk to them and they didn't answer, they sent it to us to Tijuana, and the people from Tijuana say that in their advisory they say that it can be dangerous and they are killing people, and nothing happening about that.

Ted Simons:
Have there been any unauthorized stops on highway 8? That you're aware of?

Javier Tapia:
As we know, no. Not until now, we try to investigate and we went to ask the people to the government to tell us who was the person who said that, where it was, and we cannot confirm that it can be, but until now we don't have nothing. We increase our security, our state security for these days, we can tell you that we increase the security to go on and checking all the highway, and until now they say that they are killing people and until now, we don't have any report that none has been killed in that way.

Ted Simons:
So when the U.S. consulate, with one -- when one of the U.S. consulate said the other would not issue something along these lines, if there weren't specific report, you're saying there are no specific reports of aware of these things happening.



Javier Tapia:
We don't know where they take this kind of issues, and we have them in order to tell us and try -- even -- it's not true. We increase the security in order to have the people secure, and we can offer everybody to go to Rocky Point and they will feel very secure and they will feel very good.

Ted Simons:
The advisory also recommended against driving on highway 8, specifically at night. Is that a wise idea, you think, to stay off the road, or avoid the road at night?

Javier Tapia:
I think it's like many roads, not only in Mexico, but all -- all over the world. If you can drive during the day, it's much better than at night. If you drive with a company or it's much better when you're going alone. That means if you're going alone or you're going at night, it's going to happen something, until now we don't have any problem, and the numbers that we have about security issues in Sonora, they're very, very, very high in security instead of --

Ted Simons:
But you will step up patrols for this holiday weekend?

Javier Tapia:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
I can't let you go without talking about this advertisement, the tourism advertisement that seems to have caught a lot of people by surprise, and some not too pleasantly. We're looking at it right now. “In Sonora we're looking for people from Arizona” with the military fatigues and the whole nine yards. The next day, I think it was the next day or the day after, it was said we're looking for people from Arizona to have a good time in Sonora. Was that the best way to advertise Sonora, do you think?

Javier Tapia:
Well, let me tell you that this was the beginning. We was looking -- and we are looking for the people from Arizona. This guy is not in the military. We tried to catch the attention of the people of Arizona in this moment where you have many things in the press, many, many things. If you put only an ad that invites you to go, the people only in the beach, maybe you won't see very good the ad, because you have many things -- this proposal, this was -- the proposal was to have the advertising in two pages, in the same newspaper together, one and the first one, and the other one next page. Unfortunately somebody made a mistake. We don't know yet if it was the Arizona republic or the agency. But anyway, next day we -- resolve anything, and the first one is to catch the attention of the people. That was the proposal, and it's not a military, it's a camouflage. We're having the state of Sonora many hunting, many watchers, birds, and we try to put that watcher there, and the proposal was very -- to put this guy -- in order to catch the attention. And that's -- that can be controversial because of that. But supposed to be in the next page to have a great time. We're looking people from Arizona in order to have a -- who wants to have a great time.

Ted Simons:
But considering the fallout, we're not going to see that ad again, are you?

Javier Tapia:
No. We didn't consider it anymore. This kind of ad. We're changing the ad. We're putting the next ad is going to be in the states and it’s going to be people, teenager making -- asking for -- go to -- we're are looking for people from Arizona in order to have a great time only in one sheet. But you know, I want to tell you that Mr. Arpaio say that what's incredible, we -- we said that we have -- the next day, and he said less mandate that was incredible that something happen in order to change, mysteriously change and the same people from the newspaper, they say it's out of context because they had the advertising since the beginning.

Ted Simons:
We have time for one more question. I want to know what the mood is right now in Puerto Penasco. And in Sonora. We've got an immigration law that's controversial, you've got this advisory, there's concern about violence in Mexico, drug cartels. What's the mood down there?

Javier Tapia:
Well, right now in Penasco, we have very secure destination. Not only Puerto Penasco, but in all the state of Sonora. We have a very, very good destination. Secure, we have many things to do. You can -- there are many people that they have investment in --

Ted Simons:
and we do have to stop right there. We thank you for joining us, though. Thanks for being on "Horizon."

Javier Tapia:
Thank you.

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