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Massacre in Mexico deepens country's violent image

Forty-nine bodies were dumped on a highway in northern Mexico in the latest example of drug-related violence that is scaring off investors and changing citizens' behavior at home.

Mexican federal police and forensic investigators at the site where bodies were found on the highway between Monterrey, Mexico and the US border.

Christian Palma/AP

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Forty-nine bodies have been dumped on a highway in northern Mexico – and by the time the world wakes up Monday morning, the harrowing image will have been beamed across the globe.

Mexico's drug violence has been a public relations nightmare for President Felipe Calderon. The crime scenes inevitably make world news, scaring off would-be tourists and causing foreign investors to think twice.

But imagine being a resident of one of the cities where violence is playing out, with the misfortune to witness the mayhem not on a television set but firsthand.

That is what happened to Carolina Gomez, a young teacher who happened to drive past a similar scenario in her home of Veracruz, in eastern Mexico, when 35 bodies were left under a highway overpass in the middle of rush hour traffic last September. She had been on her way to a tutoring job after school.

The Monitor profiled her family in a cover story about the ways that violence is impacting Mexicans not directly swept up in it.

The dumping of the bodies was a tipping point for the city of Veracruz, but also in the personal story of Ms. Gomez. As a teacher, she had heard cases of parents kidnapped, and even seen a corpse left outside of her school. She had to take security training on what to do in the case of a shootout. And she never left home – including on this day – without checking Twitter first to map out safe routes.


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