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CONNECT THE WORLD
Burkina Faso Faces Nigeria In African Cup Finals; Tunisian Opposition Leader Assassinated
Aired February 6, 2013 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The first place of the Arab Spring witnesses the shocking death of a popular leader. The outrage that follows leaves Tunisia's prime minister to make a dramatic decision.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Tonight, to one of the most important voices from Tunisia's revolution tells me where she believes her country is heading.
Also ahead, an exclusive look at life inside Damascus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "I queued up yesterday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm," he says. "And I still couldn't get any bread."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen shows you the impact of Syria's civil war in the heart of al-Assad's power base.
And race collides with politics on the Italian football pitch. What Silvio Berlusconi's brother said about Mario Balotelli's move to AC Milan.
Turmoil in Tunisia tonight. We learned a short time ago the country's prime minister is dismissing his cabinet amid widespread protests. All of this, following the death of an outspoken critic of Tunisia's Islamist led government.
Jonathan Mann has the details.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chokri Belaid was just leaving home on his way to work when he was shot. A man who had denounced violence in Tunisia's tumultuous transition to democracy, he was killed by a gunman who according to one witness escaped on the back of a waiting motorbike.
Belaid was a lawyer and a human rights activist, an inspiration to millions of Tunisians, the voice of a large coalition of secular opposition parties known as the Popular Front. After his killing, his supporters immediately took to the streets of several cities in shock, sorrow and anger, chanting shame, shame. And just as they had two years earlier in the midst of their revolution the government should fall.
Within hours, Tunisia's Islamist prime minister did dissolve the government and promised a new interim cabinet leading to early elections.
HAMADI JEBALI, TUNISIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): It's a heinous crime that shocked the whole country and was condemned by all people despite their beliefs and opinions. I give my condolences to his family, his wife and sons, and the Tunisian people. The bullets that killed him were aimed at all Tunisian people.
MANN: Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring, the first country in the region to topple its government and hold free elections. Tunisians chose a moderate Islamist government, but like Egypt the country has grappled with an economic downturn, widespread disappointment in its new rulers and political polarization. Just last month, the Tunisian president warned the growing rift between secularists and Islamists might lead to civil war.
The growing fringe of militant Islamists was involved in an assault on the U.S. embassy in September just after the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
And as demonstrators vented their anger at the killing, leaders on both sides of the Islamist-Secular divide called for calm, concern that there may be more bloodshed ahead.
Jonathan Mann, CNN.
ANDERSON: Well, Belaid's brother certainly believes that that threat of more bloodshed is real. And he is not mincing his words when it comes to placing blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELMAJID BELAID, CHOKRI BELAID'S BROTHER (through translator): The message is you shut up or we kill you. Ennahda Party wants to rule the country on its own. Actually, he has been receiving threats of murder for a long time. The last one was the day before yesterday by SMS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, we've been bringing you events in Tunisia since the first days of the Arab Spring. Having been there myself, I can tell you today scenes are reminiscent of the revolution that began just two years ago. It was back in December 2010 that a jobless graduate, Mohammed Razizi (ph) set himself alight after police confiscated his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart. And his death sparked mass protests that lead to the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali a month later.
Tunisia held parliamentary elections later in 2011 with the Islamist Party winning 42 percent of the vote. It formed a coalition with two secular parties, but tension between Islamists and secularists have been bubbling ever since. Well, as of this evening the cabinet has been dissolved and a caretaker government is being formed.
Two years on, many Tunisians still face economic hardship. As John Mann reported they are angry at the slow pace of change and resent what they see as the Islamitization of a once secular society.
Joining me now is a Tunisians blogger and activist Lina Ben Mhenni is a leading activist in Tunisia and author of a popular blog, A Tunisian Girl. Her efforts got her shortlisted for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
Your reaction firstly to the assassination of the politician earlier.
LINA BEN MHENNI, ACTIVIST & BLOGGER: This morning when I heard about the assassination of Chokri Belaid I was really shocked. I'm still shocked. I don't believe this yet. It's very sad. It's very shocking. I didn't expect that we are going to have this after a revolution. I don't think that Tunisians did the revolution to have this.
ANDERSON: A lot of violence on the streets today. The government, and we're looking at those pictures now here on CNN, pictures from earlier on. What's your sense of what's going on on the streets tonight?
MHENNI: Well, what we say about right now the streets are calm, but this morning people just took to the streets to demonstrate peacefully, to express their anger, but peacefully. They were just shouting some slogans, the national anthem, and they had the Tunisian flag and that's all. And suddenly the police used violence again. They started to throw tear gas and to these people who (inaudible) avenue.
And I think this is so sad, especially in this (inaudible).
ANDERSON: Do you blame the government for this?
MHENNI: Yes, I do. First of all, I blame the government for the assassination of Chokri Belaid, because personally I believe that even if Ennahda Party, the Islamists are not directly involved in the assassination of Chokri Belaid, they are involved indirectly, because the minister of interior is someone from Ennahda Party, from the Islamist Party, and he didn't succeed in protecting Tunisian citizens.
We are experiencing and living under violence for months now. And the ministry of interior didn't do anything to stop this. The government didn't do anything to stop this violence. Several meetings of the opposition parties were attacked by some militia and even Chokri Belaid said that he was threatened several times, but the ministry of interior didn't do anything to protect Chokri Belaid, didn't do anything to protect Tunisian citizens.
ANDERSON: And as you speak, we're looking at the shocking scenes of where this assassination actually happened earlier today.
What's the future for Tunisia as far as you are concerned tonight?
MHENNI: Well, tonight I cannot be optimistic. I don't feel that we have a competent government. I don't know what's going to happen with the new government. We don't know who are the new minister who will be appointed by the prime minister.
ANDERSON: What do you want from the government? It's a very simple question at this point. What do you want to see?
MHENNI: Well, I want to see a peaceful Tunisia. I want to see a government who are -- to fulfill the objectives of the revolution. The government we used to have until today is a government who succeeded in dividing Tunisians, a government who didn't go anything to solve the real problems of Tunisians. What I want to see is a government who works to write the new constitution, a government who will start to solve the problems, a government who applies laws, a government who respects human beings.
ANDERSON: And with that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. Your guest this evening who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after her activism and blogging at the start of this Arab Spring two years ago.
You're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story tonight, the Tunisian prime minister dismisses his cabinet after the assassination of a leading anti-Islamist opponent caused a wave of unrest across the country. You are watching Connect the World live from London.
Still to come, what it's like to live in a city that's becoming a battle zone. We're going to hear from those in Damascus struggling to even buy a loaf of bread.
Also ahead, Mexican authorities say strong leads could soon bring arrests in the rape of six Spanish tourists near Acapulco.
And footballer Mario Balotelli is never far from the headlines, but this time it's not him that's causing the controversy. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
ANDERSON: A reminder that you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson out of London for you. Just about 30 minutes past 9:00 here.
Heavy fighting broke out on the outskirts of Syria's capital today. Security forces battled with rebels who are trying to advance from positions in the suburbs into the heart of Damascus. While the rebels have taken control of significant parts of the country, they haven't been able to make significant inroads in Damascus.
Well, the violence there is affecting the most basic human needs. Every day hundreds of people queue outside government run bakeries hoping for bread. But a severe fuel shortage means deliveries often don't arrive.
Frederik Pleitgen is in Damascus and joins us now with more. What can you tell us at this time, Fred?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, you're absolutely right, this was a day of intense fighting here in the Syrian capital. We woke up early this morning to very intense shelling that was coming from government positions. And you know, the past couple of days that we've been here, what you hear is you hear an artillery shell being fired maybe once every four or five minutes, but today it was real artillery barrages that were raining down on a lot of the Damascus suburbs. So there is certainly a feeling, and people in Damascus I've talked to have confirmed this, that this was some of the most intense fighting that they've seen here in the entire time of this almost two year conflict.
Now of course all of this is starting to affect the people here and there are shortage here of even the most basic things. Have a look.
PLEITGEN: Our time lapse video shows the aftermath of heavy fighting in a Damascus suburb, an all too common scene as the civil war draws closer to the city center. And ordinary people here are increasingly feeling the impact.
Salah Nasr (ph) has been waiting in line for hours to get bread in this government-run bakery. The retired soldier has to feed his wife and seven children.
"I queued up yesterday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm," he says, "and I still couldn't get any bread. Some people bring their children to put them in the queue to get more bread and others don't get any.
Every day, a battle for the bear necessities, a desperate situation that brings tears to Salah's (ph) eyes.
Pretty much everyone here will tell you a similar story. They stand in line for hours every day and then it's not even clear whether or not they're going to get bread. The bread here is actually subsidized. It costs 15 Syrian pounds for one loaf, that's just a couple of cents. The alternative for these people is buying it on the black market where the price is ten times that. And most of those here simply can't afford that kind of money.
The bread lines are a direct result of this: Damascus is suffering from a severe fuel shortage. Delivery trucks with ingredients for bread often stop running and car owners often spend hours queuing up for gas at the few stations that have any.
"People come and fill canisters because they fear there will be a shortage," he says, "and that is what actually creates the real problems."
With many Syrians fleeing the country and tourism virtually nonexistent, the conflict is hitting the economy severely. In a historic old town, at the traditional brass and copper workshops, the craftsmen make everything from trays to pots to ornaments. Allab Yahi's (ph) family has been in the brass crafting business for generations, but with the violence much has changed.
"Production greatly dropped," he says. "We now have to work with imported brass, because the local brass is not available." And he adds that imported brass is much more expensive, but Syrian brass has not been available for more than a year, because the factories were in Aleppo and in Homs.
The brass and copper crafts trade in Damascus has survived for hundreds of years through wars, revolutions and civil unrest. And even now, the men here continue to hammer away, although they clearly worry about the conflict that slowly seems to be eroding the social fabric of this country.
PLEITGEN: And of course Becky one of the things we always have to point out after all the reports that we filed here is that we are here on a Syrian government journalist visa, so therefore we are very closely monitored by government agents. And some of the people that we speak to are obviously inclined not to speak as openly as they might want to. Nevertheless, there is very much an uneasy feeling here in the Syrian capital that the civil war here seems to be closing in on this bubble of fairly normal life that the people still have here and certainly on a day like this where you really hear shelling the entire day that just drives that point home even more than usual, Becky.
ANDERSON: Frederik Pleitgen in Damascus for you this evening.
Let me take you to Washington at this point where the new Secretary of State John Kerry is being ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Bide. The former Massachusetts senator takes over of course from Hillary Clinton who retired from the role last week. John Kerry formally welcomed to the State Department Monday following on from Hillary Clinton.
Kerry recently joked that he had big heels to fill. It's official. Secretary of State John Kerry being welcomed to the office by the vice president.
Well, it's a role in a growing scandal and it's going to cost the Royal Bank of Scotland $612 million. RBS agreed to pay U.S. and UK regulators as punishment for attempting to fix lending rates to boost profits.
Now this follows similar deals regulators have reached with UBS and Barclays. Other banks facing scrutiny include Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan.
Well, it is more than 50 states are meeting in Cairo for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. And for the first time in 30 years the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also attending. His arrival, though, wasn't welcomed by everyone. Here you can see a video of a group of men trying to throw a shoe at the president, a major insult in the Arab world. Prosecutors describe the men as Sunnis who accuse Iran of spreading Shia doctrine in Egypt.
And Saudi Arabia faces embarrassment amid reports of a secret U.S. drone base there. The Washington Post and the New York Times say the base was set up two years ago and has been used to launch attacks into neighboring Yemen. The newspapers also report the drone strike that killed U.S.-born al Qaeda leader Anwar al Awlaki was launched from that base. This new allegation comes amid growing concern about the Obama administration's use of drones. And with a new head of the CIA about to be nominated, this is likely to put the U.S. government on the defensive.
Let's get more from our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence. What's actually being said by the Pentagon at this point? These, after all, are just reports in newspapers. Have we had this confirmed by the Pentagon?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we actually confirmed a lot of this two years ago, Becky. Here is the back story on this. About two years ago we reported that the CIA was going to build new airstrips to launch drones on the Arabian peninsula. At the time, we didn't specify Saudi Arabia, but apparently some organizations had an arrangement with the White House in which they knew it was Saudi but had agreed not to report it.
In any event, the reporting about the Arabian peninsula has been out there, but the New York Times came forward and said specifically where it is.
You're right, it is going to cause some difficulty. I spoke with a senior U.S. official earlier today who said Saudi's sensitivity is one of the concerns he has, also a potential danger to the folks who are actually running the base. As you know, any time you are doing any sort of strikes off of Saudi soil by the United States, that is a very provocative place and carries a lot of religious and political considerations.
ANDERSON: What do we know about the base and indeed the technology, the drone technology?
LAWRENCE: Well, there's been sort of a dual effort going on, so to speak, to launch strikes within Yemen. In Yemen, you've got the U.S. military who have been working with the Yemeni forces as part of a counterterrorism program.
In a separate program, you've got the CIA in Saudi Arabia launching these strikes on very high valued targets. You mentioned Anwar al Awlawki, the American born cleric, who was a huge figure in al Qaeda.
So you've had these dual programs going on targeting al Qaeda leadership in Yemen.
ANDERSON: Chris Lawrence out of Pentagon for you this evening with the very latest on what is a diplomatic embarrassment and indeed for Saudi.
Last week, it also emerged the 54 countries may have helped the CIA hold terror suspects in secret prisons. Now, a human rights organization says countries such as Canada, Britain, and Germany were amongst them.
Well, tonight on Amanpour, Christiane will take a deeper look at the CIA's post-9/11 rendition program and hear about the surprising countries that took part, that's just less than an hour from now.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.
Coming up, scandal has erupted in the world of football. And yet again, I'm afraid, it's over a racist comment. See what a team official had to say about Mario Balotelli.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson.
Now, another racism scandal has erupted in Italian football. It didn't happen on the field, though, this time. It was a comment made by, get this, AC Milan's vice president who just happens to be Silvio Berlusconi's brother.
Don Riddell joining me from CNN Center.
What did he have to say, Don?
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we -- I can show you exactly what he said, because we've got the clip of Paolo Berlusconi making these comments a few days ago at a political rally.
Now what he said was filmed and it was then posted on the La Republica website. And this is what he had to say about Mario Belotelli.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAOLO BERLUSCONI, AC MILAN VICE PRESIDENT (subtitles): And now lets us go and watch our family's black boy, the crazy one. The ladies that are here are invited, if they want, to come with me. You would have the opportunity to also meet the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: So I don't know how much more context you need on this, Becky, because what I think he said there absolutely speaks for itself. But Belotteli has of course only just signed for AC Milan. He was their star of the weekend. He scored two goals in a win for the Rossoneri. And now of course this has blown up.
As you can imagine, there is absolute outrage, although some people defending Paolo Berlusconi because of the work he actually used. Now the literal translation of what he said would have converted to the N-word. The actual translation probably isn't the N-word, although that is open to some sort of cultural interpretation. But either way, it's clear that he was being demeaning. It's clear that he was using race and his color. And he wasn't being very nice about him at all.
Why on earth he would do that, Becky, I don't know.
ANDERSON: Any response from AC Milan?
RIDDELL: We've contacted them. They haven't made a comment. No response from Mario Balotelli either. He is, of course, on international duty with Italy in Holland this evening.
I think it's going to be very interesting to see how Balotelli deals with this, because he's played in Italy before. He played in Inter Milan. He's been subjected to racial abuse before. I'm sure -- I'm not sure it's going to happen again, but I think there's a chance it may happen to him again. And I think how he responds will really determine how Italy deals with this problem.
Of course, it was only last month that AC Milan's captain Kevin-Prince Boateng led his team off the field after he was subjected to racial abuse against this team Pro Patria, a fourth division side in Italy. So, you know, this is a problem in Italy. And it is just astonishing that it has happened at this level. Silvio Berlusconi's own brother making these comments.
Berlusconi himself, when this incident happened with Kevin-Prince Boateng was actually very supportive of his player for walking off. And he applauded him and commended him for doing so. So heaven only knows what he's saying to his brother right now.
ANDERSON: Yeah. One of the organizations I know tonight who is trying to kick racism out of football is saying that the Italian game, quite frankly, is diseased so far as racism is concerned. But, you know -- I say this every time. I wish we didn't have to talk about racism in football, but we do until we get rid of it.
RIDDELL: Yeah. And I think the more we talk about it and the more we highlight it, you know, it's hopefully good will come of it ultimately.
ANDERSON: You're absolutely right. One day we won't have to talk about it anymore. And that will be a good day.
Listen, let's talk on the field activities. The Africa Cup of Nations, what a great tournament. That is wrapping up at the moment. A bit of a surprise, I believe, go on.
RIDDELL: Well, it's been a dramatic day in the semifinals. The headline is that the Burkina Faso will be playing Nigeria in the final in Johannesburg on Sunday. That's a first for the Burkina Faso. They've never got this far. It is an upset that they've knocked out Ghana. But I can tell you that they thoroughly deserved it. And they nearly didn't. Becky, I regret to say this, but in the week that we've been talking about match fixing in football Burkina Faso weren't just playing Ghana today, they were playing the referee. He made so many errors of judgment, there were so many bad calls that went in Ghana's favor and against Burkina Faso -- I'm not saying he fixed the match, but he can see how people would perhaps be thinking about that, because there were so many controversial calls.
In the end, Burkina Faso won that game on penalties, but sadly their star player Jonathan Pitroipa will miss the final, because he was sent off in that game for diving. It wasn't a dive, but he was sent off nonetheless and now he missed the final which is an absolutely a tragedy for him and his team.
ANDERSON: Yeah, but what a great final that will be. Good stuff. All right, mate, thank you for that.
Tomorrow you can -- you can join Pedro Pinto, one of our colleagues, for a live weekly football forum. It's your opportunity to be a member of our team here at CNN as we talk about the UEFA Champion's League every week from the latest news about clubs and matches to the world's best players. That's at CNN Football Club. It's every Thursday starting this week at 5:00 in the afternoon in London, 6:00 in Berlin right here on CNN.
The latest world news headlines as you would expect are just ahead at the bottom of the hour. Plus, investigators say the rape of six tourists in Mexico wasn't a random attack. They say the victims knew the suspects from a previous encounter. That after this.
ANDERSON: The headlines this hour. Protests in Tunisia after the fatal shooting of the opposition leader Shokri Belaid. The Interior Ministry says a police officer was killed during the clashes. Tunisia's prime minister announced that he is dissolving the Islamic-led cabinet and will form an interim government without political affiliation.
John Kerry has been sworn in as the new US secretary of state. You're looking at live pictures from there. As we speak, the former Massachusetts senator takes over from Hillary Clinton, of course, who retired last week.
"The New York Times" reports the US built a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia and has been using it to target terrorists in Yemen. The head of the drone program, John Brennan, has a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday to become the next CIA director.
Mexican authorities now say they've identified the suspects in an attack on Spanish tourists in Acapulco. They say seven men are under surveillance and could be arrested within days. Gunmen broke into a beach bungalow early Monday, raping six women and tying up their male companions.
Well, shortly, we're going to get more on the brutal attack in one of Mexico's most famous tourist destinations. As I said, it happened just south of Acapulco, a resort city on the Pacific coast. Authorities have not linked the attack to Mexico's vicious drug wars, but they now say a drug sale may have played a role in this case.
Acapulco has become one of Mexico's most violent cities, but tourists are rarely the target. Instead, it's the locals who live in fear. With little confidence in the police, some are now taking security into their own hands. Rafael Romo has that part of the story for you.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFIARS EDITOR (voice-over): In the Mexican town of Ayulta, located 85 miles east of the beach resort of Acapulco, masked men are in charge. Armed with their own rifles, these men say they're fed up with the Mexican drug cartels that terrorize the region.
This man says he's the commander of what the locals call "community police." Like many others who have taken up arms, he wears a mask to protect his identity for fear of retaliation by criminals.
COMMANDER, AULTA "COMMUNITY POLICE" (through translator): They're going to see that here it's the people who really are in charge. This goes beyond the police. It's about the people, because entire towns have mobilized. That's how this movement started. It had to happen, because people are already fed up.
ROMO (on camera): They say local police officers are either complicit with organized crime or overpowered by it. The situation may explain this week's brazen attack against six Spanish tourists near Acapulco who were raped by a group of armed men. Security experts say an ineffective police force promotes impunity.
ERIC OLSON, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: This conflict, this violence is very gruesome, and it's also mostly felt at the local level, oftentimes in off-the-beaten-path places in municipalities and small towns.
ROMO (voice-over): The governor of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, recently met with the citizens who have taken up arms. When the governor asked if the residents have confidence in the local police, the answer was a resounding "no."
ROMO: Aguirre says part of the solution is purging corrupt police departments.
ANGEL AGUIRRE RIVERO, GOVERNOR, GUERRERO STATE (through translator): Those who are complicit with criminals should be terminated immediately. If the state police is not doing their job and is also complicit, the same thing should happen. I'm not going to defend any thugs.
ROMO: Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto plans to create a new 40,000-strong police force to help fight organized crime at the state level. "What the Mexican state can't afford is to be intimidated by the criminals," he told CNN last November, just before taking office.
But the violent attack in Acapulco may indeed intimidate international tourists and affect Mexico's tourism industry, which is among the top three sources of revenue for the country.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ANDERSON: I want to bring in Miguel Marquez, who is live in Acapulco for you now with the details, certainly, on what we know to date on what was an horrific rape -- mass rape of these Spanish tourists. What's the latest from the police?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, several bits that we've learned from the investigators. I want to show you what's happening here right now, though, Becky. This is the house that was invaded by these attackers. You can see the police tape around it.
The individuals that are sitting there are all the main investigators on this case. The woman in the wheelchair with the orange top on, she is the prosecutor, the head prosecutor for the state of Guerrero. It gives you a sense of just how serious the police and investigators are taking the situation here.
Fifty investigators on this case alone. They've doubled the number of patrols throughout Acapulco as well. But the latest information is that there are seven attackers, say investigators. They believe that they knew their victims and the victims knew their attackers, because police say that they purchased drugs from them shortly before that attack occurred.
Certainly doesn't make that attack any better in what happened there, but those attackers came here at night, tied up the six women, they were masked with guns, held them, in. They were tied up with their cell phone cords and their bikinis, and the men were unable to do anything.
And now we find ourselves where we are today with a manhunt, quite literally, looking for these individuals. Police do say that they know who they are, that some of them are under surveillance.
And it appears what is going on, Becky, is that police are putting -- dotting their Is, crossing their Ts, getting all the information together so that they can move in and arrest these suspects. They believe they'll arrest them by the end of the week. Becky?
ANDERSON: All right. Miguel is in Acapulco for you, or just south of there. President Pena Nieto has shifted away from the previous administration's aggressive war on drug cartels, focusing instead on reducing, he says, violence against ordinary citizens in Mexico. So, is this an effective strategy to bring crime in and under control in Mexico?
We're joined now by Latin American political analyst Ana Maria Salazar. She's a radio host and blogger who once served at the Pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of defense for drug enforcement policy and support. Let's start with this horrific attack in Acapulco.
Certainly, the local mayor has said this is an isolated incident. It doesn't make it any better, but he says it's an isolated incident. That won't make it any easier for those who may be thinking about visiting the tourist destination, or certainly for Mexicans who believe their country is always in the headlines. What's your response to what you've heard?
ANA MARIA SALAZAR, LATIN AMERICAN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was in Acapulco this weekend with my own family, with my kids, when this all happened, and there is so much security in the main areas of Acapulco, they have marines, they have army, they have federal police, they have state police, they have local police.
Clearly, the local authorities have taken extraordinary steps to try to provide security to tourists. It was a long weekend, so the whole -- the place was full of families and -- tourists from -- mainly from Mexico. There has been an enormous reduction of the tourists that are coming from abroad. So, it continues to be a very important tourist area.
This particular event, I had the opportunity to interview the mayor of Acapulco, and he insists that this type of modus operandi of groups of men going -- group of men going in and raping women is not -- had not happened before in Acapulco.
SALAZAR: So, I think we should at least for now view this as an exceptional situation until there is more information in terms of --
SALAZAR: -- who were the people involved and whether there's been more cases of this type of rape that hasn't been reported because it had to do with Mexican women and not with foreigners.
ANDERSON: No, you make a very good point. And as we've pointed out, at least at this point, the mayor is saying that he believes that this is an isolated incident.
The president, when he took office, insisted that the government's efforts will be on reducing crime across the country so that ordinary Mexicans feel safer. He said his focus is, to a certain extent, no longer on the war on drugs. Is it clear that he's affecting that policy? What's being done to reduce violent crime?
SALAZAR: That's a really good question, Becky. This is an issue -- I follow security issues in Mexico very closely, and I do -- I've done numerous investigations, written numerous books about the security situation in Mexico throughout the years.
And I'm not going to say it's confusing what the Pena Nieto government is saying, but they're laying out a strategy which, one, is going to focus much more on those organizations that are exercising extreme violence against the population.
And they didn't -- they're not saying that they're not go against drug trafficking organizations --
SALAZAR: -- but that their priority is to reduce kidnapping and extortion. So, what does that mean in terms of operations and in terms of how you used your resources? That's a very good question mark.
ANDERSON: Let me put this to you, because there's an argument that says if all you do is go after violent crime, as the president has said he will, it will still lead you to the drug cartels. Do you agree with that argument?
SALAZAR: Right. I -- I do. And they're not only -- and let me just say something. They're not only -- I think we need to stop calling them "drug cartels," because this is organized crime, which is basically trafficking in people, trafficking in women.
They are stealing oil, they're stealing gas. They are using extortion, they are kidnapping, they are stealing cars. They will participate in any type of illegal activity that will produce money.
SALAZAR: Because they have the know-how and, in certain parts of the country, they have exercised territorial control. So, let's talk about organized crime, and in so much as the Mexican government can send a message to these thugs that you've got to stop messing --
ANDERSON: Right, OK.
SALAZAR: -- with the population, otherwise you're going to be a priority, our main target. It may have an effect.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Good point. Good insight. As ever, a pleasure to have you on. Thank you.
Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, we hear from one of the young nominees who's up for a BAFTA award this year, one that is decided not by the film industry, but by you and me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SHADOW DANCER")
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH AS COLETTE MCVEIGH, "SHADOW DANCER": What's your name?
CLIVE OWEN AS MAC, "SHADOW DANCER": Always ask for Detland (ph).
RISEBOROUGH AS MCVEIGH: Are you going to get rid of him?
OWEN AS MAC: It's better you don't know.
RISEBOROUGH AS MCVEIGH: If you make a mistake, I'm dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Andrea Riseborough, there, starring opposite Clive Owen in the political thriller "Shadow Dancer," set in Northern Ireland. It's just one of many films that the British actress has worked on in the past two years.
Well, for her work, Andrea has been nominated for an EE Rising Star Award, the only BAFTA that's actually decided by public vote. I spoke to here a little bit earlier about the award and began by asking her what makes the Rising Star Award so special.
RISEBOROUGH: You're nominated by your peers in the industry, and they kind of -- they decide who are the most rising.
RISEBOROUGH: Which five of us are most on the rise. And then, it's a public vote from there. So, it's sort of a pat on the back from your own community, and then whether the public responds to you or not is a different story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "W.E.")
RISEBOROUGH AS WALLIS SIMPSON, "W.E.": Your family will never stand for it. The prime minister won't stand for it.
JAMES D'ARCY AS KING EDWARD VIII, "W.E.": Then I'll give up the throne.
RISEBOROUGH AS SIMPSON: I will be the most despised woman in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A lot of our viewers around the world, at least, will know you in Wallis Simpson, directed of course, by Madonna. Talk to me about working with her. What was she like?
RISEBOROUGH: She was planning the project for ten years alone, and when I went to meet her, I was interested in seeing how she was going to explore the character, and I thought he character was -- she's just -- she's almost -- you develop an insatiable relationship with her, if that's the right word to use.
And she's very, very difficult to really get to the bottom of. And sometimes you think perhaps she had no bottom.
RISEBOROUGH: There was -- I don't mean physically. But -- but I think she went through a great deal of pain, even though she was encased in this very beautiful outer shell.
ANDERSON: Was it a risk for you to work with somebody like Madonna, when a movie is going to be so in the limelight?
RISEBOROUGH: Really, my response was enthusiasm. There was no question of risk or -- was it not going to work. And she -- there was no leaf unturned. She'd just done so much research, and I really respected that, and I respect her.
ANDERSON: I want to talk about "Shadow Dancer." Earned you a Best Actress gong from the British Independent Film Awards. An interesting film, originating from a book written by a journalist about a period of time which was very specific to British politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SHADOW DANCER")
DOMHNALL GLEESON AS CONNOR, "SHADOW DANCER": We need to talk. Now.
RISEBOROUGH AS MCVEIGH: You make a mistake, I'm dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RISEBOROUGH: A harrowing subject matter. It's not enjoyable to live through. I didn't personally live through it, but I then reenacted it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SHADOW DANCER")
RISEBOROUGH AS MCVEIGH: I saw you did.
OWEN AS MAC: Mac.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RISEBOROUGH: I mean, thank you, Tom, wrote a story from a female perspective --
ANDERSON: It's Tom Bradby we're talking about, the journalist.
RISEBOROUGH: Tom Bradby. Because he'd experienced and come into contact with so many females and been inside of the situation. And because they have -- perhaps as women we have a seemingly vulnerable, innocent, naive quality just because of our frame. And so they were really very powerful tools, politically. And that's really where my character comes in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SHADOW DANCER")
GLEESON AS CONNOR: Don't leave Belfast. We're not done yet.
RISEBOROUGH: He won't ask.
OWEN AS MAC: It's his job to make you think he knows.
GLEESON AS CONNOR: I can hold onto the owner. I need the word now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, the Year of the Snake is upon us. People the world over prepare to mark the Lunar New Year.
ANDERSON: The coming weekend signals the Lunar New Year, and across the world, people are getting ready to mark the beginning of the Year of the Snake. The Lunar New Year also a spring festival, and in many parts of China, tourists can take a ride on floating flower markets, like these you're seeing now.
Well, millions of people travel to see family over the New Year period. It's a mass migration that leads to some pretty impressive figures. The annual migration actually lasts 40 days. It started on January the 26th and will finish in the first week of March, when everybody goes back to work.
Chinese officials say that 3.4 billion trips will be taken during the holiday period, an increase of almost 10 percent on last year. And of those trips, 3.1 billion will be made by cars, that's the preferred form of getting home for the holidays, 43 million people are expected to travel by boat, and 35 million by air.
And that leaves over 200 million people traveling by train. Some routes have already sold out as the migration, I'm told, is so intense. Matthew Chance has been meeting people, battling the crowds as this family holiday is too important to miss.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to describe the sheer scale of this annual migration across China. Hundreds of millions of workers hauling their bags with them, heading home for the Lunar New Year.
The numbers are staggering. Chinese officials estimate nearly 3.5 billion journeys will be made over this period. Buses, boats, planes and, of course, trains, all running flat out to get these people home.
I was just speaking to Li Wei (ph) here. It's interesting, because for millions of Chinese people, this is a very rare opportunity for them to go back to their home villages. Li Wei was telling me he's got a girlfriend back home in his village, but he only sees her once a year, and that time is right now.
Li Wei, you must be very happy to be going home.
(MAN SPEAKING CHINESE)
CHANCE: "Very happy, very happy, yes. Only once a year, but it's now."
We're onboard one of the trains right now heading to the northeast out of Beijing. It's 17 carriages long and, as you can see, it's absolutely crammed with people. These are China's migrant workers who left their families in the countryside to work in the city, fueling decades of economic boom. But prosperity for many here has come at a very high personal cost.
Mr. Jo (ph) here is in a position which is similar to millions, hundreds of millions of people just like him. He's left his family in a province in China in the northeast of the country, in fact. But he's come to Beijing because he gets more money. This is the one opportunity he gets every year to go home. And I'm interested, Mr. Jo, is your sacrifice -- is your sacrifice worth it?
(MAN SPEAKING CHINESE)
CHANCE: What he's saying is that if he didn't take that job in Beijing, he simply wouldn't be able to support his family, and that's the main reason why so many people around China do what they do.
Well, we've got to the end of our short journey. Hundreds of millions of Chinese around the country preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year will also be coming to the end of theirs.
And then, in a few weeks' time, China goes back to work, and this whole huge, human annual migration starts over again.
Matthew Chance, CNN, outside Beijing.
ANDERSON: And we are following China closely all this year on CNN, from its growing economic might to touchy relations with some of its neighbors. CNN is the first international news network to dedicate a regular show to this country. Get details of the new monthly program at cnn.com/china.
In your Parting Shots this evening, the iconic Monopoly board game is changing. Hasbro, the makers of the game, allowed you, the public, to vote on what playing token should be ditched -- have a look at these old little ones, get right in there, Peter -- should be ditched and what should take their place.
Well, the results came in this morning, and were announced on NBC, starting with the piece that is being eliminated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CILP - "THE TODAY SHOW")
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": It is the iron.
AL ROKER, HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": Aw.
GUTHRIE: So sad. I love the iron. Iron is no more.
MATT LAUER, HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": So, the new token, five options: diamond ring, helicopter, guitar, cat, and robot. The winner, please, in a drum roll -- is the cat.
LAUER: And we have it right here on the set.
GUTHRIE: There it is.
LAUER: Congratulations, cat.
GUTHRIE: He's a little big to move him around.
LAUER: That's true.
GUTHRIE: I wonder how big the board will be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: So, the iron goes to jail -- rit! Sits in there, never going to see that one again. Who gets in? It's the cat? Go all the way back around. In the end, it came down to a dead heat on which token to lose. It took a jury to decide which would go between the shoe, the wheelbarrow, and the iron.
And here are the pieces that were up for consideration. Have a look at some of these. The ring. The robot. Guitar. See that? And, of course, the cat, who sits right there.
Earlier, I asked you on Twitter for your opinions on the new piece. I asked, time for a change or are they messing with an institution?
Well, Melissa in London replied, "I loved the iron. Now what will happen if the cat and the dog land on the same square?"
Naasira in Trinidad seems a little sad, tweeting that she was always the iron. Well, I hope you like cats, Naasira.
And Merli in Wisconsin implies she's unhappy with the decision, saying "If it ain't fixed --" or, let me start that again. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I can't think of anything worse than the helicopter. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD.