Bomb threat closes consulate in Juárez
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.