Friday, August 16, 2013

Mexico claims drug war deaths are plummeting

. . . but it may not sell everywhere

Guadalajara -
Mexico's secretary of government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong claimed today that drug war deaths in July fell to their lowest level since the Enrique Peña Nieto administration took office Dec. 1.

Osorio Chong, who is Peña Nieto's most powerful cabinet officer and frequently speaks for the nine month old PRI government, said the slightly more than 800 deaths connected to organized crime violence last month dropped to a level not seen since 2009. Based on current numbers he predicted that August would reflect an even more dramatic decline. Osorio Chong spoke in Campeche on the Yucatán peninsula, at a regional security meeting covering Mexico's southeast military zone.

Mexico's drug war, which was launched by former president Felipe Calderón in December 2006, is in its 80th month. Osorio Chong attributed the progress to "better coordination between federal and state security forces."

"At the beginning of this administration we found ourselves with a recent history, on average, of 1,600-1,700 deaths per month attributable to organized crime activity," said Osorio Chong. "Now we're down to just over 800. This month, I think, we'll continue the decline and see numbers not reported for three or four years. We're convinced that our approach is yielding results."

The administration has been bragging for several months about allegedly precipitous declines in drug war deaths. But in the face of chronic instability and mounting violence in states like Michoacán and Guerrero, the murder of a Mexican vice admiral by cartel gunmen on July 28 and the rise of civilian militias in areas where local police are corrupt, outgunned or simply nonexistent, not everyone is convinced that progress is being made. Sen. Patrick Leahy blocks $95M in Mérida Initiative funds.

Aug. 27 - Mexican press: PRI government is lying about drug war deaths - the real number is 13,775, in just eight months
Aug. 27 - Delay in arrival of federal gendarmerie units; Peña Nieto claims major progress in drug war
July 1 - Mexican drug war deaths fell to 18 month low in June
June 6 - Mexico records another month with less than a thousand drug war deaths
May 10 - Mexico says drug war deaths are plummeting
Apr. 2 - Mexico's March drug war tally was 1,025 dead, with Jalisco state in fourth place nationwide
Jan. 2 - Stats after first month of new PRI administration not encouraging: 982 executions, 32 a day

May 23 - Fiasco in Michoacán suggests little has changed under new government
July 24 - "¿Por qué deberíamos preocuparnos?"
July 25 - Federals will remain in Michoacán, promises Peña Nieto

These death numbers don't add up, complained Guadalajara's El Informador in a May 27 story.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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