Mexico's body count of innocents and gangsters rises as cartel feuds increase and spare no one.
One day a year cemeteries in Mexico City burst with life. Jo Tuckman joins locals at one on the outskirts of the capital.
More than 35 000 Mexican minors seeking to cross the northern border, about half of them unaccompanied, were repatriated last year.
A classroom in Mexico City: hands shoot in the air. A nod sends one boy bounding to the digital board at the front, where he taps the nipple of a three-dimensional body image. There is a loud “ping” and a hyper-reality picture of the mammary glands is highlighted with such vigour it seems to jump out of the wall. The boy smiles and takes his seat and the class launches into a discussion about what different glands do.
Male, about 40, gaffer tape over his eyes, tortured, strangled, shot twice, and dumped on a patch of wasteland -- and wrapped in Christmas paper. Without the yuletide motif the unidentified corpse would have been just another statistic. As it was, the extra detail earned him a brief mention in the nightly news roundup.
About a month ago, CCTV images of a woman in a shopping mall carrying off a toddler who was not her own were broadcast on Mexico's most popular television news show, introduced by the anchor as a rare chance to see child-stealing in action. And that was about that. A few days later, an English six-year-old called Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal -- and in Britain the media hurricane is still swirling.
Amid the chaos of Guatemala City's evening rush hour, a grieving father sits motionless on a concrete bench beside a main road. On New Year's Day his seven-year-old daughter was killed. She had been sent out to buy a nappy for her baby brother but never arrived home -- hours later her decapitated body was found in one of the deep gullies that run through the capital's slums.
Assaults on police stations killing seven, a chopped-up body discarded in rubbish bags, three execution-style murders and foreign tourists grazed by bullets: it was a nasty week in the resort city of Acapulco, defying a much flaunted crackdown on drug related violence and delivering a serious blow to Mexico's tourism industry.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rails against "the privileged" in a staccato voice that softens as he turns to the virtues of "the poor" and a cheeky grin accompanies the thumbs up to go with his latest slogan: "Smile, we are going to win." Depending on who you talk to, the presidential candidate is the great hope of the downtrodden, a messianic danger to stability, or a crafty pragmatist.
From a distance the object bobbing in the bay looked like a coconut or a buoy, but when it was washed up on the beach it proved to be a human head. "It wasn't pretty," said Jose Vargas, who joined the crowd that had gathered. He was shocked but not surprised by the sight. "This kind of thing happens in Acapulco these days."