Mexico Tourism’s 3 Strikes: Guns, Flu, Economy


It was the last image the Mexican government wanted from one of its sunny seaside resorts, says Time. In the heart of Acapulco, soldiers fought a blazing battle against drug cartel thugs who sprayed bullets and hurled grenades. After hours of the warlike scenario, 13 gunmen, two bystanders and two soldiers lay dead. The shoot-out happened Saturday night less than a hundred yards from Los Flamingos Hotel, where Hollywood stars used to party.

Last weekend’s Acapulco firefight was only the latest episode of close urban combat in Mexico as cartel militias fight each other and the government for the bounty of the drug trade. But its time and place could not have been more unfortunate. After tourism was shattered by the swine flu scare, Mexico just two weeks ago launched a $90 campaign to lure holidaymakers back. But while the “Vive Mexico” campaign has yet to have much international impact, the wild seaside shoot-out grabbed the attention of TV stations from Long Beach to London.

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