Saturday, March 1, 2014

At 14 months of PRI administration, 21,258 drug war dead

*Updated Mar. 17, 2014*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's National Public Security Ministry reported yesterday that in the first 14 months of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto, the country recorded 21,258 deaths related to organized crime and narco violence.

Previous reports from the ministry have confirmed that on average, about 1,500 persons per month, or 50 a day, continue to die in the now 87 month old drug war (stories below). The PRI government, as did its PAN predecessor, maintains that most of those killed were cartel operatives or gang members murdered by competitors in narcotics trafficking and allied industries.

Peña Nieto took office Dec. 1, 2012. The report covers drug war violence from that date through Jan. 31, 2014.

In December there were 1,412 homicides, and in January 1,366, according to ministry officials.

Drug war deaths during the Felipe Calderón administration continue to be the subject of debate and disagreement. In late November 2012, just before the former PAN president's term ended, Mexico's Milenio news network reported the tally was 59,000, or about 820 per month. But on Apr. 8, 2013 it spontaneously revised that figure and said the number was 65,362, or 908 per month. Both versions are a fraction of the stats being racked up by the new PRI government, which in theory could lead to a death toll of over 100,000 during its six year term in office.

Although the current administration insists that overall, domestic security is improving in Mexico, it acknowledges that crimes like kidnapping and extortion have risen sharply. In late January officials rolled out a claimed anti-kidnapping strategy, but it was thin on specifics.

The ministry also reported that in January alone, security forces seized almost 75,000 kilograms (82.5 tons) of drugs, together with large stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, vehicles and cash.

President Peña Nieto took office on a pledge to dramatically reduce drug war violence in the first 100 days of his administration. Three months after being sworn in, he admitted that his promise was too optimistic, and said "measurable results" were a year away. On Dec. 12, Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong promised that the administration would deliver a comprehensive domestic security evaluation this month.

Feb. 28 - Domestic insecurity presents challenge to Mexican economic growth

Mar. 17 - Mexican news services which carefully monitor drug war statistics report that in the first 14 months of the Peña Nieto administration, deaths from organized crime violence actually numbered 23,640, or 2,382 more than the Public Security ministry claimed three weeks ago when this article was posted. today carried this excellent analysis, with data supplied by Zeta, an all digital publication. Los primeros 23 mil 640 muertos de Enrique Peña Nieto.

Both services insist these are not common homicides, but are murders directly related to narco violence. The monthly mathematical average since Dec. 1, 2012 is 1,688, but for many months the administration has been claiming about half that number in press releases and official statements. Below is Zeta's casualty map.

Jalisco is in fourth place for organized crime deaths, exceeding even Michoacán. The statistically safest state in the Republic is Yucatán, with 40 drug war murders. The PRI governments there and in neighboring Quintana Roo state (262 dead) would probably deny there have been any. Yucatán safety continues to be subject of hot debate.

All of the stats include killings of cartel members by other cartel members, which both the present and previous administration claim account for 90% or more of the drug war dead. Nonetheless, the numbers are a fair measure of organized crime presence in Mexico's 32 jurisdictions.

Mar. 29 - Organized crime violence cost 2,975 lives in the first two months of 2014, according to the National Public Security Ministry.
May 8 - Mexico says insecurity costs it $16.6 billion USD annually, and 50 lives a day

Dec. 15 - Mexico the world leader in 2013 kidnappings for ransom
Nov. 7 - Are 1,555 drug war deaths a month encouraging?
Oct. 25 - Drug war deaths on Enrique Peña Nieto's watch: 15,552
Aug. 31 - Mexico admits 52 daily drug war deaths in Enrique Peña Nieto administration
Aug. 27 - Mexican press: PRI government is lying about drug war deaths

© MGR 2014. 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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