Exposing Cancun's Dark Side

ByABC News
June 21, 2006, 8:37 PM

June 21, 2006 — -- To journalist Lydia Cacho, the Mexican resort of Cancun is no vacation paradise.

Cacho's Cancun is a place where children are at risk from sexual predators, women have few rights, and powerful men influence corrupt officials to do their bidding.

Today, Cacho is fighting for her freedom in a Mexican court, all because of a book she wrote about a pedophile ring in Cancun.

She was arrested last December at a women's shelter she runs by several officers who arrived in an unmarked car.

"They came towards me and they said 'Lydia Cacho, you're arrested,'" Cacho said. When she started protesting, the officers became threatening, according to Cacho. "One of them just took a gun and put it in my head and said 'Shut up!" she said.

"I thought these guys are going to kill me," she added.

The arrest of Lydia Cacho, captured on a surveillance tape, would turn into an international incident. After her arrest, she was taken to prison where, she was told, a plan was already in place to rape, beat and silence her.

Exposing Cancun's underbelly wasn't Cacho's intention when she moved there from Mexico City some 20 years ago. Instead, she expected to write novels and live a peaceful writer's life by the sea.

But Cacho said she soon discovered that behind the paradise lurked extreme poverty and oppression. She began writing about and speaking out against domestic abuse and rape, eventually becoming a rape counselor and opening a high-security shelter that takes in and protects the battered wives, girlfriends and children of powerful men. "A lot of the men said, 'OK, if you don't give me my wife back, I will kill you.'"

Her work is dangerous. She must travel in an armored vehicle, accompanied by armed federal agents.

What led to her arrest was her reporting about Jean Succar Kuri, a powerful Cancun businessman and hotel owner who is facing charges of raping and corrupting children.