Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
As we trudge through another Canadian winter, the bookings for southern resort vacations are almost a national ritual. Tourism figures show more than a million Canadians choose Mexico. But the headlines over the last few weeks offer a dark perspective over those sunny vacations.
Part One of The Current
It's Wednesday, January 25th.
The first anniversary of the Egyptian uprising. And to commemorate the day, the military is suspending the country's repressive state of emergency law .... except in cases of thuggery.
Currently, the term thuggery in Egypt is as flexible as terrorism in the U.S.
This is The Current.
Mexican Holiday Horror - Maureen Webster
We began this part with the sound of Robert Prosser describing the vicious attack on his niece, 37-year-old Sheila Nabb of Calgary. Nabb and her husband were on vacation at a five-star hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico when she was found unconscious on Saturday. She is now out of a medically-induced coma, and her family says she's responsive, but her jaw remains wired shut. Mexican surgeons could begin reconstructive surgery on her face today, but she isn't expected to be well enough to travel home for several weeks.
What exactly happened to Nabb is under investigation. But her story is just the latest tragedy involving Canadians vacationing in Mexico this month. Salid Abdulacis Sabas was found in a street, shot dead. University of British Columbia student Ximena Osegueda was tortured and fatally stabbed. And B.C. native Robin Wood was killed during a home invasion.
According to the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 112 Canadians have died in Mexico in accidents, murders or suicides over the past five years. And then there are those who, like Nabb, were attacked - but lived. According to government records, 50 Canadians last year were victims of assault in Mexico.
Foreign Affairs urges Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to the border area between the U.S. and Mexico due to organized crime violence. A lower level of warning has been issued for the rest of the country.
Still, we flock to Mexico. After the U.S., it's the second most popular destination for Canadians, with 1.6 million of us travelling there in 2010. The vast majority of vacationers return home, rested and unharmed. But my next guest says cases like Sheila Nabb's are proof that taking a vacation in Mexico is more dangerous than most people realize.
Maureen Webster's son Nolan drowned to death at a Cancun resort in 2007. She now runs the website Mexico Vacation Awareness, and we reached her ust outside Boston.
Mexican Holiday Horror - Ioan Grillo
Despite the troubling headlines, not everyone thinks Mexico is unsafe for visitors.
Ioan Grillo is a journalist based in Mexico City and he knows about violence. He's covered the drug trade for the past decade, and wrote the book, El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency. He joined us from Mexico City.
We did request interviews with the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as the Mexican Tourism Board, but those requests went unanswered.