Checking the death tab in Mexico’s drug war

Funeral parlor uses a pickup truck to haul away bodies in Acapulco
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The launch this week of a comprehensive official database of drug-related killings around Mexico provides a new insight into the complexity of the conflict with criminal groups that traffic drugs into the United States.

Until now, the public relied mostly on tallies elaborated by national media outlets or on sporadic – and sometimes confusing – figures released by different government institutions.

Many in Mexico have therefore welcomed the publication of a unified set of data that for the first time includes not only fallen gang members, but also police, soldiers and innocent civilians killed in the fight against the cartels.

However, that positive development has been overshadowed by the grim scenario that the figures depict – and some complain that they only show one, even if the most tragic, aspect of the conflict.

According to the new database, the total number of people killed in the conflict between December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon came into power, and the end of 2010, stands at 34,612…

Total number of victims in drug-related violence in Mexico, per year

December 2006: 62
2007: 2,826
2008: 6,837
2009: 9,614
2010: 15,273

At least 89% of the fatalities are suspected gang members killed in turf wars between the different organisations that compete for control of trafficking routes into the US.

RTFA. Investigate the arguments for and against Calderon’s policies.

And I don’t know – do you think there will ever be a positive outcome?

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