Program Note: Tune in tonight for a full report on the kidnapping in Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/art.mexico.kidnapped.harrison1.jpg caption="George Norman Harrison in his pizzeria. Harrison was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/art.mexico.kidnapped.harrison2.jpg caption="A family photo of Harrison with his niece, Andrea."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/28/art.mexico.kidnapped.bullring.jpg caption="The bull ring across the street from where Harrison's body was found."]
This week all the attention is on Mexico and how to contain the Swine Flu that has taken so many lives. As the illness pops up in the United States and other parts of the world, people are learning how to avoid the deaths like those in Mexico. People living in Mexico are walking around in surgical masks, encouraged to stay inside and restaurants are only serving food to go. At the San Ysidro border crossing, just south of San Diego, Customs and Border Protection agents are screening people coming back from Mexico, looking for signs of the illness.
But in the news this morning there was a quick reminder of another virus killing so many people in Mexico. Last night after 8pm, 10 Tijuana police officers were shot, leaving five dead and the others in critical condition. The drug war is a virus that no one seems to be able to stop. We have spent much of this year going into Mexico and talking with people who live in this danger zone. People are afraid to take their children out in the streets, many are upset that their country is being hijacked by a cartel members who have no value for human life.
Gary Tuchman and I were in Tijuana, Mexico two weeks ago when we met a man named Guadalupe who dealt with the drug war like no one could ever imagine. He was in contact with kidnappers who were holding a friend ransom. His friend was an American, George Norman Harrison, who was living in Mexico and owned a pizza business. Guadalupe, who wouldn’t give us his last name out of fear, dropped ransom money off and negotiated with the kidnappers. Harrison’s fingers were chopped off and sent to Guadalupe to keep pressure on to find more money. After delivering a second drop, his body was found, headless and without arms.
Mexico’s drug war has crippled their economy which relies so much on tourism. The United States has now issued a travel warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico because of the Swine Flu. The Mexican government is taking steps to try to contain the illness. They have ordered the closing of bars, clubs, movie theaters, pool halls, theaters, gyms, sport centers, and convention halls. It makes you wonder how much more can Mexico take?
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