I have been less than systematic in reporting deaths from homicide in Ciudad Juarez and I also find myself relying on (and doubting) these new reports from the Mexican government. Several people I trust who live in Mexico have responded to me privately that they believe the government is purposefully under-reporting homicide numbers. So, the evidence we have from the press is sporadic and partial, as are my efforts to find this evidence and share it with the list. I was away from the computer most of the day yesterday as I sat for hours in a waiting room at the ICE Detention Center in El Paso, waiting to testify about the violence in Juarez and in Mexico generally as background information in an asylum case.
During the course of the day, I received several reports from list members about confrontations with large numbers of deaths. The first report was from Guerrero where shootings in several different places left 7 people dead.
Bloody morning in Guerrero… From Proceso Online…5 people were killed in the capital of Chipancingo despite (or because of?) the fact that some 3000 federal agents had been sent to the city to keep order during a demonstration by members of the Movimiento Popular de Guerrero. Also, in Acapulco, another two people were killed.
When I got home last night, I saw an article in El Diario (from El Universal) of confrontations in Michoacan that left at least 17 people dead. The Guardian also reported these killings, contrasting the events with the government’s announcement of a 14% decrease in killings since the same period last year (Dec-March)…
And in Juarez yesterday there were 2 separate killings reported and today, two men were shot in an electrical shop and another person injured.
The new and expanded Transborder Institute Justice in Mexico report is now online. Here is the introductory information and links to the full report. It will be be very interesting to review their data and analysis and I hope other frontera list readers will comment. For starters, it is nice to see in their introduction, a paragraph that reflects my reporting on the Frontera List going back to July 2011 when I first realized that we had to look at the INEGI numbers to count ALL homicides, not just those supposedly related to organized crime. I believe this is the FIRST report from the TBI to do that. And indeed, this paragraph reflects the numbers that have been reported here continuously since mid-2011 and in articles such as:
Mexican Death Toll in Drug War Likely Higher Than Reported
Fueled by War on Drugs, Mexican Death Toll Could Exceed 120,000 As Calderon Ends Six-Year Reign
Also excerpted below is the chart “Comparing Criteria for Classifying Homicides Linked to Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime” found on page 11 of the report. I haven’t read it in detail yet to see if it is cited, but it was in August 2012 that the Mexican government itself said in an interview with REFORMA that these criteria were not valid and would no longer be used because they were not in anyway applied uniformly by police or other law enforcement authorities anywhere in the country. I continue to insist (as I did in a presentation at a conference at the TBI in June 2010) that it is impossible to accurately determine the causes or perpetrators of murders since the Mexican government itself admitted then and later that 95% of the crimes were not investigated. I hope that now that these numbers are presented by the Transborder Institute in its continuing series of excellent publications that the mainstream media will start reporting the real death toll of the ongoing violence in Mexico. I hope to find more interesting details in the report and will post later and I hope other readers will too. Molly Molloy
[Excerpt from Introduction]:
However, under President Calderón, the number of overall homicides annually increased more than two and a half times from 10,452 in 2006 to 27,213 in 2011, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI). During the first five full years of Calderón’s term—from 2007 through 2011—INEGI reported 95,646 people killed, an average of 19,129 per year, or more than 50 people per day. By these measures, there was a 24% average annual increase in overall homicides during the Calderón administration. Calculating that overall homicides appear to have dropped by roughly 5-10% in 2012, our estimate is that the total number of homicides during the Calderón administration was likely around 120,000 to 125,000 people killed, depending on whether INEGI or the National System of Public Security (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública, SNSP) data are used. (emphasis added)
And in case you thought it was difficult before to get news and statistics on the violence in Mexico, now Mexico’s leaders will only give out information on murders in small “doses” that the public can handle… And President Pena Nieto asks the media to achieve an “equilibrium” between good news and bad news… If only Mr. Orwell were here to provide some good counsel… Thanks to Jose Luis for sending. His comments and the article follow:
Amazing to think that the governor of Colima and other governors agreed to this… 24 people killed and seven businesses assaulted by armed groups in one month! And nobody knows. Colima is a very small state. In short, the violence has not subsided, but the information is now prescribed in “dosages” so we don’t get sick.
“Los reportes policiales indican que en lo que va del año en la entidad han sido ejecutadas 24 personas y 7 comercios fueron asaltados por grupos armados, pero los hechos no han sido reportados por la Procuraduría de Colima, como lo hacía hasta el 2012.”