Malia Obama visits Mexico

March 23, 2012 at 3:41 PM
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OAXACA, Mexico, March 23 (UPI) -- Mexican officials said a trip to the country made by 13-year-old Malia Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama's daughter, was a "a compliment."

While in Oaxaca on a trip planned through her school, Malia volunteered at an orphanage, visited archaeological sites and hung out in the town plaza, The New York Times reported Thursday.

U.S. State Department travel advisories have been hurtful to Mexico's tourism, especially a spring break warning issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety suggesting that Texans avoid Mexico altogether.

"It's a compliment that the daughter of President Obama and her friends have decided to live the experience of Oaxaca," said Jose Zorrilla, the state secretary for tourism and economic development.

The White House ordered English-language media outlets pull stories of Malia's trip from their Web sites this week. The blackout was lifted Tuesday after earthquakes hit Mexico to assure everybody she was safe.

Zorrilla said the visit was not as secretive in Mexico: "The reality is that Oaxaca isn't that big and it isn't that easy to hide 10 girls and that security."

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