On the road in Mexico: Day 1
I am in Mexico to report on how a country with a population of 110 million people is facing up to a three-fold challenge: economic recession, a surge in drugs-related violence, and swine flu.
According to a recent US government security analysis, Mexico ranks up there with Pakistan as being at risk of becoming a failed state. So today I've been talking to people in a small town in central Mexico about how the recession across the border in the US is hitting them hard.
Everyone in the town of Jungapeo has a son, brother or husband who's working, illegally, in the US. Or rather, who was working. Now, they are either not working, or working much less. Remittances from the US are down nearly 20 per cent ... and in a town like Jungapeo, that means less money to spend, more belts tightened.
But every young man I spoke to says he still wants to find a way across that border. "It might be bad there," one said, "but it's still much worse here."
Less work and more poverty means more power to the drugs cartels. So tomorrow, I'm heading for the Gulf resort of Cancun, where the combination of growing drugs-related violence and swine flu has scared thousands of tourists away.