Mexican town may build statue of swine flu boy

After a year of deadly drug violence and the swine flu scare, Mexico’s tourism industry is on the ropes, but that’s not to say that politicians aren’t willing to think outside the box.   The governor of Veracruz wants to erect a statue of kindergartner Edgar Hernandez, the first person known to have contracted swine ...

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585570_090526_edgar2.jpg
Four-year-old Edgar Hernandez, who according to Veracruz state Governor Miguel Herrera recovered from the swine flu, poses at his home in La Gloria village, Veracruz state, Mexico April 27, 2009.The swine flu virus that has killed dozens in Mexico could mutate into a "more dangerous" strain, Keiji Fukuda, acting WHO assistant-general for health, security and the environment said, adding that the UN agency will decide on Tuesday if it should raise its pandemic alert rating. AFP PHOTO/Pablo Spencer (Photo credit should read Pablo Spencer/AFP/Getty Images)

After a year of deadly drug violence and the swine flu scare, Mexico's tourism industry is on the ropes, but that's not to say that politicians aren't willing to think outside the box.

 

After a year of deadly drug violence and the swine flu scare, Mexico’s tourism industry is on the ropes, but that’s not to say that politicians aren’t willing to think outside the box.

 

The governor of Veracruz wants to erect a statue of kindergartner Edgar Hernandez, the first person known to have contracted swine flu, in the town where he lives:

Gov. Fidel Herrera of the coastal state of Veracruz said the statue of Édgar, 5, could help attract tourists to La Gloria, a poor village where hundreds of residents came down with mysterious flulike symptoms beginning in late winter… 

He considers Édgar to be not “Patient Zero,” the source of a global outbreak, but rather the first person in the world known to have survived the virus. In an interview with local reporters on Sunday, the governor likened the statue, which might be made of concrete or bronze, to the Manneken Pis in Brussels, the sculpture of a little boy peeing in a fountain.

Not that Edgar isn’t cute as a button, but I’m not quite convinced this would be on top of anyone’s Mexican vacation itinerary. 

My colleague Beth Dickinson wrote about Colombia’s efforts to transform its image from drug war zone to tourist destination last February.

Pablo Spencer/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy Twitter: @joshuakeating

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