Bomb threat closes con­sulate in Juárez

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION - By Olivia Tor­res

JUÁREZ, CHI­HUAHUA — A cred­i­ble bomb threat forced au­thor­i­ties to abruptly shut down the U.S. Con­sulate in this city gripped by vi­o­lence and fear, U.S. and Mex­i­can of­fi­cials con­firmed Fri­day.

The Dal­las Morn­ing News re­ported that the threat, re­ceived Thurs­day and com­ing just days af­ter a car bomb killed four peo­ple in Juárez in a fresh es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence, led au­thor­i­ties to im­me­di­ately send per­son­nel home and close the con­sulate of­fices, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

A tersely worded state­ment from the U.S. Em­bassy in Mex­ico City late Thurs­day said the con­sulate would re­main closed un­til a se­cu­rity re­view is com­pleted.

The con­sulate is the only place that pro­cesses im­mi­grant visas in Mex­ico.

“It is a very sig­nif­i­cant fa­cil­ity for us,” State Depart­ment spokesman P.J. Crow­ley said. “There is some threat in­for­ma­tion that we re­ceived that we are eval­u­at­ing. It is hard to know or judge whether the threat is re­lated to the broad area where the con­sulate is or to the con­sulate it­self.”

Even as the State Depart­ment in­creases pro­tec­tion for em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies from the in­ten­si­fy­ing vi­o­lence on the Mex­i­can border, clos­ing the Juárez con­sulate is the most dras­tic step to date — com­ing four months af­ter drug gangs Guards re­in­force se­cu­rity mea­sures Fri­day in front of the U.S. Con­sulate in Juárez, which au­thor­i­ties closed in­def­i­nitely Thurs­day af­ter a bomb threat was re­ceived. killed three peo­ple tied to the of­fice.

About 300 peo­ple who ar­rived Fri­day morn­ing were sur­prised and ir­ri­tated.

Maria Con­cep­cion Morales trav­eled with two chil­dren 16 hours by bus from Za­cate­cas to be on time for her 7:45 a.m. ap­point­ment for a tourist visa.

“What am I go­ing to do?” she said. “I don’t have enough money to stay un­til Mon­day, when they’re say­ing they will re­open.”

Many com­plained of the lack of sup­port for those stranded by the sud­den clo­sure.

The U.S. Em­bassy said it would resched­ule ap­point­ments for visa ap­pli­ca­tions through its call cen­ter and pro­vided a num­ber that U.S. cit­i­zens could call for pass­port ap­point­ments and other ser­vices.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.