In Cancun, a very touristy seaside resort with some 880,000 inhabitants, the domination of criminal groups has taken a dramatic turn. According to emergency services, shots were fired on Friday evening in four bars and at least twenty shots were fired in one of them. A person who was in a beer bar was killed.

“Six people were injured and another was shot and killed,” read a brief post from the prosecutor’s office on its website and social media. Local media reported that two of the establishments attacked had been threatened by suspected offenders a few days earlier. The gunshots sparked panic among the many people in those establishments, they reported.

Attacks in tourist areas are increasing

The state attorney’s office in Quintana Roo, where the resort is located, said one person had been arrested. In Cancun, criminal groups have long pressured merchants to extort money from them or coerce them into getting involved in drug trafficking. Mexico has been hit by a spiral of violence that has claimed some 340,000 lives, most attributed to organized crime, since 2006, when a controversial military anti-drug offensive was deployed.

A British businessman living in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun, was shot dead in mid-March. Similar incidents have been reported at Caribbean resorts for more than a decade. Attacks in tourist areas have increased, including a shooting on January 21 in a hotel complex near Cancun, which left two Canadians dead.

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