Travel & The Drug Wars
Over the last few years there has been a simmering conflict between a locally grown drug cartel known as La Familia and the army and police. It's a game of cat and mouse that occasionally flares up into large-scale gun battles. The army and police have captured some of the cartel's lieutenants and hampered the cartel's business operations. La Familia has retaliated with attacks against police stations and army convoys. In a shootout in December 2010, the army killed one of La Familia's two principal leaders. The cartel retaliated with attacks in several parts of the state, and it barricaded state highways with burning vehicles to block army reinforcements. This included all the highways entering the capital city, Morelia. Government forces are predicting that they will soon eradicate the cartel. It seems doubtful, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, life for the locals continues fairly normally. In the cities there are plenty of people out at night in restaurants and bars. But there don't seem to be a lot of tourists. The way things stand now, I would still go to Michoacán, but the U.S. Department of State, in its travel warning dated September 10, 2010, is urging "U.S. citizens to defer unnecessary travel to Michoacán." For the most recent warnings, go to www.travel.state.gov.