State Department Issues Warning after Tourists Assaulted by Cancun Taxi Drivers

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The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory on Tuesday, Jan. 24, after disgruntled taxi drivers attacked their Uber rideshare counterparts in the Mexican resort city of Cancun on Monday, Jan. 23.

The taxi drivers, who claim that their business is being encroached on by the rideshare services, blocked the main highway linking the resort town to the Cancun International Airport, forcing many tourists to walk nearly a mile with their suitcases to catch their return flights home.

Other taxi drivers stopped the Uber vehicles and forced passengers to take their transport instead to their destinations.

Still, others physically attacked tourists who refused to comply with their demands.

In an effort to defuse tensions and maintain Cancun’s and the Mexican Riviera Maya’s rapidly dimming image as safe destinations for international tourists, local Cancun police offered tourists free rides to the airport.

The U.S. State Department security alert noted that “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”

Meanwhile, Cancun Mayor Mara Lezama Espinosa called on the taxi drivers to show restraint.

“I am not going to allow a small group of protesters to damage the reputation of the resort and to threaten human safety,” she said in a taped message.

Notwithstanding, tensions have been increasing among transportation workers in Cancun since Wednesday, Jan. 11, when the 12,000-member taxi union reacted to a ruling that allows local rideshare drivers to operate without licenses.

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