Monday, March 18, 2013

Drug war, common crime are killing off Mexico's future

Both victims and perpetrators are overwhelmingly under 30, study finds

Guadalajara -
In October 2011 a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study reported that in Mexico and Latin America, youth itself is the primary risk factor for homicide. Last week the World Bank seconded that conclusion.

Between 2000 and 2010, 38% of murder victims in this nation were 10-29 years old, according to the Bank's report entitled "Juvenile Violence in Mexico."

And in the 24 month period between 2008 and 2010, the homicide rate for the group tripled. For every 100,000 people in that age range, 25.5 end up being another murder statistic.

Mexico, with a population of 112 million, has more than 30 million citizens between 15 and 29.

More than a year ago the United Nations reported that in Mexico there are 20 homicides per 100,000 people annually, in Guatemala 40, in El Salvador 66 and in Honduras 82. Based upon 2010 data the U.S. homicide rate is 4.8 per 100,000, and Canada's is a paltry 1.6. But those numbers represent the general murder rate, not just among young people, and strikingly reflect the extent to which Mexican youth are at risk for death by homicide.

The World Bank noted that the huge upsurge of deaths beginning in 2008 is due to Mexico's ongoing and increasingly violent drug war, and vicious inter-cartel rivalries. Common crime also accounts for many murders. Most homicides in this country are committed by firearms, even though possession of such is strictly forbidden, with few exceptions. The Mexican government says at least 80% of them come from the United States. The Second Amendment, NRA leave their mark in Mexico.

Homicides of young people are disproportionately concentrated in the northern half of Mexico. The Bank found that in 2010, 57% occurred in just five states: Chuihuahua, Sinaloa, Edomex (the State of Mexico), Baja California and, although a geographical exception, Guerrero (which includes Acapulco). U.S. travelers: a "generalized terror" of northern Mexico.

No one knows how many people have died in Mexico's drug war, which was launched Dec. 11, 2006. The most accurate estimates for the first six years of the conflict range from 59,000 to 70,000.

Most perpetrators in Mexico are also young people (and 80% of them male). Between 2000 and 2008, 41.4% of all defendants in federal criminal proceedings were 18-29 years old, and 50% of defendants in state court prosecutions were 16-29. Those numbers reflect cases of all types, not just homicides. In 2010, 50% of all criminal offenses prosecuted nationwide were committed by defendants 18-24, the Bank reported.

Mar. 20 - Narco-niña - an 11 year old girl arrested dealing drugs in Cancún. She was doing so on the orders of her stepfather, a member of the dreaded Los Pelones who operate in the Riviera Maya.

Dec. 31 - Venezuela faces huge homicide rate, 80% by guns
Nov. 29 - Mexican beauty queen dies with AK-47 at her side
Apr. 12 - Mexico's "Inconvenienced Children"

Economic underpinnings and business consequences of Mexico's drug war
Feb. 20 - Mexico has 14th largest global economy, but citizens rank 81st in food purchasing power
Jan. 3 - Mexican governors raise their salaries, while almost half the nation remains in poverty
Dec. 28 - Mexico pays enormous price for domestic insecurity
Nov. 16 - Gross economic disparity still a hard fact of Mexican life
Jul. 23 - Enrique Peña Nieto's biggest challenges will be economy and environment, not drug cartels
Apr. 23 - Economic inequality the primary cause of Mexico's insecurity, says Manuel López Obrador
Nov.. 13, 2011 - Mexico's southeastern states - including Yucatán - suffer endemic child poverty

Cancún, Quintana Roo, December 2011 - cartels often leave a calling card or narcomensaje

© 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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