March 6th, 2009
07:17 PM ET

Neighbors on different planets

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/03/06/mexico.troops/art.juarez.federales.afp.gi.jpg]
Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

We did a story Rosarito Beach, Mexico on Thursday where narco-trafficker violence has cut tourism to virtually nothing. We did a live report in front of the largest nightclub in town.

Papa's and Beers is a well known established place; it can attract thousands of partiers in the peak of Spring Break. On Thursday night, it was open with music blaring, but there wasn't one customer inside.

During the day, I walked about three miles down Rosarito's main street. There were no customers in most of the stores I passed. When we finished our live report, we drove north, passing Tijuana, and the spot where three headless victims of drug cartel violence were found on Tuesday.

We then crossed the border and went to San Diego for dinner. The music was blaring outside the clubs too. But they were packed. Beer, wine and champagne were flowing. Expensive dinners were being served; money was being made, fun was being had.

I felt like my evening was spent on two different planets.

Yes, the economy is in difficult shape in San Diego, like it is in most of the United States. But the suffering is oh so relative. Just driving 20 minutes to the south proves that.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Mexico • The Buzz
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jeanette

    Mexico needs to clean up its act so they can survive. Why should tourists go to a place where they might not return. Too many places right here in our own country to have fun

    March 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    You hit the point when the mayor said he was not safe. When law and order breaks down, so does society.
    Fortunately, I do not know how long it will take, but these towns must suffer Tijuana, Rosarito, until such time as it motivates the people to demand effective law and order.
    Law officers who "inform" to protect murderers and drug Lords by identifying whistle blowers on the cartels etc must have extremely harsh penalties inflicted upon them, thats a start.
    Maybe Mexico needs an "Untouchables" squad as well.

    March 7, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  3. ,Barbara-Dalton Ga

    Gary, I am sorry for the Rosarito Beach Community especially the
    people who are trying to make an honest living but would you want
    you child going there for spring break. The beach area may be
    and probably is perfectly safe but young folk don't always use good
    judgement especially when on spring break so it is better to be
    safe than sorry. Really better to spend the money here at home
    than elsewhere since our economy is in the toilet.

    March 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  4. Isabel, Brazil

    If, indeed, were in the interest of the government that people go to Mexico again, they must confront the drug cartels and take action, what I particularly do not believe happen, because the government is fully colluding.

    March 6, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  5. Jo Ann


    What a unique perspective on the drug cartel problem in Mexico! I never thought anyone would even consider going to Mexico with all the reports of the trouble with the drug cartels.

    What I found most disturbing was the fact that although Mayor Torres is encouraging the spring breakers to come to his city in large numbers, he can’t even walk around without armed guards! Doesn’t he realize that young Americans with money are just the "customers / victims" the drug dealers are looking for?


    Talk about different planets, what planet was that girl on who told you that going to Mexico on spring break was, “Totally relaxing, what we needed after finals?”

    Thanks for the great report and your additional comments on the blog today! You always do a fantastic job and the viewers always appreciate your work!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  6. Gemini Jarvis

    I recently returned from visiting Idaho and I felt as if though I was on a different planet. Like Mexico Idaho is inundated with "Mexicans". People are scared to even associate with them because of differing ideals that "they" carry. I am from Texas where "Hispanics" also flow like honey. They are not shunned like in Idaho. Are we still living in times where the color of our skin dictates our being on a differing planet or not. The mason Dixon line seems to think so.

    March 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Barbara

    Well, The United States did put out a warning to students and told them not to go to Mexico for spring break, because it is not safe. I think it is good to know that most everyone heeded the warning and did not go. If Mexico wants customers they have some things to work out.

    March 6, 2009 at 8:31 pm |

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