tv BBC World News America WHUT February 13, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
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>> this is a special edition of bbc news america, reporting from mexico city. i am kathy kay. last year, mexico's economy grew faster than brazil, but can they stop the violence? first they have to stop the drug violence. 60,000 people have been killed. security is the biggest problem in mexico. and attacks targeting israeli diplomats in georgia, leaving higher tensions with tehran. >> welcome to our viewers on pbs
and america, live from mexico's capital city to look at this complicated country. we have a picture of surprising economic optimism, but we also have alarming violence. five years ago, the government launched a war against the drug cartels. drug-related killings have risen, and now in this election year, security is the prime concern of mexico. we have this story. >> of the mexican army has been fighting drug gangs for five years. the mexican people are paying the price. 50,000 have been killed in the war against the cartels. and many mexicans are asking if
the price is too high. 3000 or killed in drug-related violence. since president calderon launched an attack on the gangs, the numbers have risen. with trouble spots at ciudad de juarez. she was hounded out by the drug gangs. her sin, being a journalist who wrote an article the drug cartel didn't like. they threatened to kill her and her children. mexico is currently one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. this is just one story of many. is it time for a new approach?
i asked a man who was responsible for the security strategy if the time had come to negotiate with the cartel. >> what do you think that this would mean for the families of the people who lost their lives? the only way in which the levels of violence will come down, where people will be safe and free in those areas where the level of violence has increased, is if we make certain that every single criminal who commits a crime is being tried, fairly, in court, and is paying for their crimes. that is when the levels of violence will go down, and that is when the levels of safety and freedom will be significantly advanced. >> this is an important election year in mexico. there are fears that the powerful drug organizations may
try to influence the votes with intimidation and violence. at the moment, security is the number one issue in the minds of voters. >> now the challenge ahead is to persuade ordinary people that they can get the violence under control. >> as he just reported, it is the violence that dominates the coverage of this country, but there is a more positive -- positive story here. mexico is the 14th largest economy in the world, but this is forecast to be the fifth. >> in this village, bands spend their saturdays singing military tunes. >> in this region, the drug wars
and the violence are a world arly half of the population lives in poverty. today, much of mexico looks like this. stuck in agriculture for it -- from a different age. but this is not what they want for the next generation. >> the challenge is if they can pull themselves up from this and leave behind the poverty of a developing country. there is a surprising story of economic success here. and mexico is not what you might think. >> this is an economy on the move. last year they grew farther than brazil, and they are expected to replace france as the fifth largest economy in the world. >> this is very complex and precise, and produces all of this stuff in mexico. >> they manufacture jet engines
for the french aerospace giant. saphron was brought here by cheap, educated labor. and they have been pleasantly surprised. >> it is easier to work, and we have very few -- is far better than what we were expecting. >> her part of this business is not high-tech. she sells crafts in one of the more poor neighborhoods. she is part of the growing middle class of mexico. >> two years ago we did not have a washing machine, we had nothing. if we bought milk, we had to finish at the same day before it went bad.
now we have all those appliances. >> the economic promise is hampered by the war against the drug cartels. >> we are paying a very high price. >> this is the fourth mexican foreign minister. >> this has been discouraged by the war, tourism has been discouraged by the war. they say, why should i send this to my family -- if they will be slaughtered or held up? >> for the people of this primary school, a brighter future demands a better education. less than half of mexican children enter secondary school. but things are slowly improving and the children here have big ambitions. what do they want to be when they grow up?
if they reach those dreams, mexico will be better for it. >> the aspirations of children around the world seem to be common, and despite the violence, the mexican government reported that 22 million foreigners visited this country, only slightly down from the record of 2008. and being the tourism director is no easy taslk. -- task. i spoke to gloria guevarra. >> do you say that this is an image problem rather than reality? >> there is a gap between the reality and the perception of mexico. we are working on this. why do we have a gap?
this is very simple. a couple of years ago we left a lot of information and we were not -- communicating our reality and that information. it was still up with only bad news. there are many things happening here -- and you don't hear about those -- >> you do not suggest that the violence is not real? >> we have a challenge but the challenge is very isolated and localized. >> do you think it would make your job a lot easier if the government was to abandon the war against the drug cartels? >> there is a situation in mexico, and i believe the government has a clear strategy and they're making progress, and at the end of the day, you feel that the crime rate has been
declining for the last couple of years. you also have to say that we have to do a better job communicating exactly what is happening in our country. let me give you one example. sometimes they ask us if it is safe to go to cancun. if i can tell you the distance between that town and cancun is like london and moscow -- they just think this is that easy. it takes many days to get there. this is something that should be put in context. do we have a challenge? we do have a challenge and the government is making progress. 22.7 million people cannot be wrong. thank you.
>> we will have more of our coverage from mexico in a moment. but first a look at other news from around the world. israel has accused iran of attacking diplomats in india and georgia. they denied these allegations but this is likely to increase the tensions. >> two attacks in two international capital starting israeli diplomats. a man on a motorcycle drove up to the israeli embassy, and attached a device to the back. minutes later, this exploded. the car was extensively damaged. four people were injured, including a woman belonging to the embassy. she has been taken to a nearby hospital. and almost simultaneously, a
bomb was found near a car outside the israeli embassy in the capital of georgia, tblisi. the embassy has now been secured. benjamin netanyahu was quick to point fingers. >> iran is the largest exporter of terror in the world. the security forces will continue to operate in cooperation with the local defense forces. we will continue systematically and with determination, with a strong hand against international terror. >> in dehli, forensic experts look at the debris, trying to find out what happened. the city is on high alert. >> you can see the crater on the ground caused by the explosion.
members of the bomb disposal department are looking to find out how this happened. this is in one of the high- security buildings. very close to the official residence of the indian prime minister. >> and now to the violence in syria. the united nations human rights commissioner has talked about the horrific levels of violence after syria has rejected a peace-keeping force. >> as more evidence of the killing of civilians emerges, the greater the outrage among those people in the world who want to stop this but cannot. the regime continues to say that the force they are using is a legitimate response to the
terrorists, directed by foreign conspirators. diplomacy stalled in a security council after russia and china vetoed a call by the arab league. the general assembly, -- this is trying. >> the failure of the security council to agree on firm council has emboldened the government of syria for an all- out attack to crush dissent. >> the ambassador of syria stayed with the line that they are battering extremism by foreign extremists. >> we are sad, but for those losses, and those who are trying to obtain political interests with syrian blood -- >> in cairo over the weekend,
the arab league asked for a peacekeeping mission to syria. the russians would most likely veto this. but the foreign secretary of britain gave this a cautious welcome. for western countries that want regime change, pressure matters. >> they have western boots on the ground in any form, including peacekeeping. they would need to be from other countries rather than western nations. if this concept can be made viable we will be supporting this all of the usual ways. >> in cairo, the egyptians have been left to their turbulent business. they have information on a friends of syria group, to provide information to the outside regime. >> preventing civil war is one
of the biggest challenges facing them today. there have been a lot of words but very little in the way of results. the longer that this goes on, the more likely it is that the future of syria will be settled -- >> still to come, more of our special coverage from mexico, with a trip to the southern mountains, where my and traditions are struggling against modernization. germany has welcomed the passage by the greek parliament for tough new austerity measures, but greece is still cleaning up after a weekend of rioting. dozens of buildings were set on fire, causing chaos. we have this report from athens.
>> in athens, a department store is destroyed. firefighters are still inside. >> these people destroy everything, destroyed greece. >> this building has been completely burned out and most of the timbers have collapsed. this is one of 40 buildings -- buildings that were burned during this disturbance. >> the protests were against the parliament agreeing to new spending issues with the bailout. he says the greek people could not stand any more austerity. >> is a better to be free then be saved? -- >> these rights, the most serious in years, raise questions about whether or not these cuts can be implemented.
government supporters were insisting that if they wanted to stay with the the euro, they had to stop -- go along with the demands that have been made. >> it is true that a lot of people are resenting these measures. but there are strong measures within greek society, -- >> the greek people who came to stare at these buildings understand the minimum wage will be slashed and many public- sector workers will be gone within two years. >> chances are, you have never heard of this man but his visit is making a lot of noise. he is expected to be named the new leader of the communist
party. we have more on the man in the spotlight. >> they are the men in black, all powerful in china. they are expected to raise him to the very spot -- very heights of the communist party. he is communist royalty. his father was purged and later rehabilitated. he spent his formative years out here. the chinese court interior, where he was sent to labor as a teenager. villagers stopped us from filming outside of his former home. digging too deep into his past is not welcome. >> for ping, his time out here matters for his image. they want to present him as
someone who has experienced the life of the most poor in china, and that his experiences have given him the experience to deal with china's greatest problems. >> this family still lives in a cave house, with no vote to choose the next president of china, but what they think of this still matters. >> he knew this place and if he becomes the leader, this will be good for us. >> living in a cave may have pardoned him. this is one of the only unguarded comments he has ever made. >> some foreigners with nothing better to do. fingers at us. we do not cause trouble for them. what else do you want. >> the communist party wants to keep the economy growing.
this is china's most business- minded place. iran these coastal cities into china's most economic engine. finding a way to give new impetus to the economy is the greatest challenge. >> i think you'll make more economic reform, and maybe political reform as well to build a prosperous china. >> this is his temple for safeguarding the nation. his coming trip to america will test if he is ready to represent china on the world stage. the task will be to convince his people to keep safe with the communist party and its rule. >> that pushed to modernity is not limited just to china.
one culture is having their own struggles. the mayan calendar runs out at the end of the year, leading to prophecies of doom. the mayan civilization died out centuries ago, but the descendants still live in parts of southern mexico and are among the most poor people here. >> in the mountains of southern mexico, mayan traditions going back millennium still survive. they call him the traditional healer, and he is treating an illness that modern medicine cannot help. >> doctors cannot cure illnesses like this, they don't even know how to diagnose this. even with special equipment,
they cannot detect the sickness of the soul. >> this is a new addition to the dealers armory, with a more modern way of life. mines are some of the most poor people in the country, especially here in santiago, living off the land and making little money they can offer of pottery. the pressure is on, to modernize. this new suburb was the mexican government's answer to fighting poverty. a rural city, but few people live here. she loves this place and was one of the first to move in, but after a few weeks she was disappointed. >> the house is coming apart,
she says, and she does not think it will be long until this falls down. the houses have wooden floors. she had to build her kitchen next door. and the brand-new hospital on the hill may as well have come from another planet, and equipped to tackle infant mortality, but again, pretty much empty. >> the man who designed the new city said that he was confident people would move in. >> as with any program and especially this one, this has to do with the culture and customs of the indigenous people. we're trying to find solutions to reduce poverty levels and bring the community closer. >> they do have very colorful customers. this is same state, with
religion and dress from the spanish, five centuries ago. a ritual from a lot further back. there is no escaping the modern world. bbc news, southern mexico. >> we have special coverage from mexico -- coming to a close. we have found stories of alarming tales of drug violence but also, remarkable and surprising economic progress and optimism. in this election year as mexicans go to choose their next president, one thing is for certain, this will be an interesting country to watch. in a rather gray and when the mexico city, thank you for watching. tomorrow i will be back in washington. i will see you then.
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