President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador disregarded travel advisories from the United States that portray much of Mexico as dangerous. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

In response to American criticism of his security record following a tragic kidnapping this month near the border that cost the lives of two Americans, Mexico's president asserted on Monday that his nation is safer than the United States.

The attack on four Americans on Mar. 3 in the Mexican city of Matamoros and their subsequent kidnapping were closely covered by U.S. media and prompted criticism from American lawmakers, particularly Republicans.

Two of the Americans were already dead when they were discovered by Mexican officials. Since the kidnapping, five alleged members of a Mexican drug cartel have been detained, Reuters reported.

President Andres Manuel López Obrador disregarded travel advisories from the United States that portray much of Mexico as dangerous. Lopez Obrador has threatened to persuade Mexican Americans not to support Republican candidates if they continue their criticism.

"Mexico is safer than the United States," he told reporters when questioned about the warnings at a news conference.

"There's no problem with traveling safely around Mexico."

According to López Obrador, Americans travelling to Mexico and Mexicans living in the United States are aware of how safe the country is.

He also noted a recent increase in Americans living in Mexico. U.S. visitors to Mexico increased significantly in the previous year.

He blamed an "anti-Mexico" campaign by conservative U.S. politicians for negative reports about security.

The U.S. embassy in Mexico did not respond to a request for comment about the president's comments.

In 2020, the murder rate in Mexico was 28 per 100,000 inhabitants, about four times higher than in the United States, according to figures from the World Bank.

Although Mexico's homicide rate dropped by around 7% last year, the current government is on track to register a record total for any six-year administration.

The U.S. State Department assigns varying levels of travel risk to all but two of Mexico's 32 regions.

In addition to the kidnappings, U.S. authorities report that two Texas women who crossed into Mexico to sell clothing at a flea market in late February have been missing ever since.

Sisters Marina Perez Rios, 48, and Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, 47, as well as their Mexican companion Dora Alicia Cervantes Saenz, 53, have been missing since Feb. 27, according to a police spokesperson in Penitas, close to McAllen, who also claimed that the FBI had been notified.

Seven women, including a group of six, have been reported missing in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico over the past week, according to authorities in the region.

The state has been plagued by severe gang violence.

Additionally, a spokesperson for state prosecutors reported that 10 people were killed in a gunman attack on a bar on Saturday night in the town of Apaseo El Grande, Guanajuato.

Eight deaths were first reported by the prosecution, but the official said two more victims who were shot and injured have subsequently passed away.

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