Business owners and longtime Rocky Point-travelers are upset this morning, saying the U.S. Consulate alert about Highway 8 is simply untrue.
We ran a story this morning — http://azstarnet.com/news/local/border/article_ff865196-46fc-519b-a2c2-4004882f6c4f.html"> Alert throws wrench in Mexico plans — about the http://azstarnet.com/news/local/border/pdf_bc137fbe-6759-11df-be21-001cc4c03286.html"> warden message posted last week from the http://nogales.usconsulate.gov/">U.S. Consulate in Nogales, which informs people about unconfirmed reports about unofficial checkpoints on Highway 8 to Rocky Point.
This morning, I have received several phone calls and emails from people who believe the alert is completely untrue and damaging to Rocky Point business.
Here's an email I received from "Puerto Peñasco's American Community:"
"U.S. Consulate Warrant unsubstantiated, uncorroborated…and untrue!
While it is not unusual for the U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Sonora to release a travel advisory for parts of Mexico, the latest warrant, dated May 19, 2010, has left an entire community wondering where the Consulate gets its information.
Business leaders in Puerto Penasco, known commonly as Rocky Point, met on Monday to discuss the backlash of calls and emails received as a result of the warning that specifically mentioned dangers on Highway 8, the road to this popular beach resort town.
According to the director of Mexico’s Federal Highway Patrol, no incidents like those discussed in the warning have occurred. The AFI, which is like the American CIA, has also denied any knowledge of problems along Highway 8. Local police chief Erick Landagaray expressed surprise that the Consulate would issue a warning without so much as a thread of truth to it. The Attorneys General at the State as well as Federal level have also said there is no basis for the claims of violence on the road to Puerto Penasco.
Fausto Soto, Director of International Relations for the City of Puerto Penasco attended the meeting, where all agreed the highest priority should be in preparing travelers with the truth, regardless the economic effects on the city.
Nevertheless, in this case it seems the U.S. Consulate - Perhaps because a false report they received - has violated their own policy not to rely solely on unsubstantiated rumors…and in this case, they got their facts very, very wrong, in the process harming an entire community, including about 10,000 American and Canadian Citizens residing or having a legitimate business in this place.
It would be naïve to think that the timing of this warning was accidental, coming as it did right before one of the biggest weekends for this resort community. That negative reports hit the media harder right before Spring Break or other important holidays for travelers is nothing new. What is new, however, is the participation of the U.S. Consulate’s complicity in unnecessarily scaring the traveling public and causing harm to many American-owned businesses south of the border.
The hope in Puerto Penasco is that those who know and love Rocky Point won’t stay away or cancel their travels plans without first verifying the veracity of what they’ve heard, even if the rumors come with the stamp of the U.S. government."
The group's email provides a link to this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwzy0aXjXBY">"making our point about this sensitive situation"