5 out of 10 minors in Mexico live in poverty…UNICEF

I was struck by this paragraph in the Foreign Affairs piece I posted by Shannon O’Niell:

“As a result, modern Mexico is a middle-class country. The World Bank estimates that some 95 percent of Mexico’s population is in the middle or the upper class. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also puts most of Mexico’s population on the upper rungs, estimating that 50 percent of Mexicans are middle class and another 35 percent are upper class. Even the most stringent measurement, comparing incomes alongside access to health care, education, social security, housing, and food, finds that just over 45 percent of Mexicans are considered poor — meaning that almost 55 percent are not.”

Many studies I have seen from Mexican agencies such as CONEVAL in recent years say that 50%+ of the Mexican people are “poor or very poor.” So how is it possible for 95 percent to be middle or upper class?? In any case a new study from the UNICEF says that 5 out of 10 children in Mexico live in poverty.

The figure of 90% in the middle class in Mexico is just preposterous. INEGI figures, corroborated by various secretariats put the number living in poverty at 54 million. The report mentioned here by the World Bank from Nov. of last year is very detailed but this news account highlights Mexico as being one of the countries of Latin America with the LEAST upward mobility since 2000. See the chart depicting movers and read the last paragraph. “Just two other countries — Guatemala and Nicaragua — had less economic mobility than Mexico.”

Also, the World Bank uses a figure of $10 US/day as its lower threshold for measuring membership in the middle class. This is about 130 Mex pesos/day. If you know anyone who works in the informal sector here, ask them how much they make on a good day, think about that figure and ask them if they consider themselves middle class.

2,243 “organized-crime-related” homicides in 2 months–government report

A grand junta of government agencies in Mexico (SEGOB–Interior, SEDENA–Army, Marina–Navy, Federal Police and PGR–Attorney General) released a report yesterday saying that in the first 2 months of EPN’s presidency, 2,243 people have been murdered in “organized-crime-related” incidents.  The numbers went down slightly from 1,139 in December to 1,104 in January. Of the deaths in January, the government claims that 1,068 of the 1,104 are criminals, 30 are public servants and 6 are innocent bystanders, apparently.  No evidence whatsoever is provided for that number…nor the criteria used by this new grand government cabal to start providing data again… Just the “facts…”
This is probably a pattern of reporting such numbers to the press that we can expect from the new administration. As for my desire to understand the real magnitude of the violence, I will continue to look for INEGI statistics, even though they are slow to come out.  I would remind readers that in the USA, reliable national crime statistics tend to be about one year behind the calendar date.  That is, a detailed report on PRELIMINARY numbers for a period at the national level usually comes out in the middle of the next year. Figures for individual cities are sometimes published in the press using local police reports.  The evidence gathered by investigations of a few Mexican news media during the past sexenio have shown that there is absolutely no coordination between states or municipios within states when it comes to reporting crime data.  There is no way for us to know if all jurisdictions are reporting to these national cabinet figures. Local and state police agencies are still in disarray–in fact, in most places in Mexico, these agencies are always in disarray and there are rival criminal elements within them.

For example, on Friday, the new Attorney General of Morelos was attacked by a group of state police and three of his bodyguards were murdered. This attack was probably part of a shakeup caused by attempts to strip different municipal police forces of their power in the consolidation of the new unified state police force…

When reporters have looked into the data for the past several years using the IFAI (Mexico’s transparency law), they find whole states missing and different time periods included in the data they get. A real investigation of the true numbers of victims of murder and forced disappearance will take a long time to get to a reasonably accurate estimation of the dead.  molly molloy

New Justice in Mexico Report: “DRUG VIOLENCE IN MEXICO: DATA AND ANALYSIS THROUGH 2012″

The new and expanded Transborder Institute Justice in Mexico report is now onlineHere 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)

Mexico’s drug cartels target journalists in brutal killing spree…Observer

I admire a lot of Ed Vulliamy’s reporting from Mexico, but based on known research that has been posted repeatedly on this list and elsewhere, it is just WRONG to repeat the number of Mexican dead as “60,000 since 2006.” That number MAY have been true 2 years ago and the killings have only increased since.  And these numbers are not wild estimates from human rights groups. These are the hardest numbers available from Mexican agencies: INEGI and SNSP. Jim Creechan and I have posted and published these numbers often in the past few months.  Mexican journalists have also written estimates from 100,000–150,000 dead in Calderon’s sexenio. LE MONDE, the major French newspaper, reported 120,000 back in August.  What kind of data do the mainstream English-language press require to update their reports of the death toll from homicide in Mexico?

I would also note again the unquestioned reporting of the government line as to who (or what) is behind the killings of journalists in Veracruz.  This report mentions the killing of Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco in 2011, but ignores the testimony of his surviving son, Miguel Angel Lopez Solana, who implicates the state government and the military in the slaughter of his family. The reason Miguel Jr. is seeking political asylum in the United States is because criminal organizations working in tandem with corrupt government entities murdered his family and will come after him also as they have subsequently murdered many of his colleagues in Veracruz.
His story is told here and much of it is in his own words.
In this passage highlighted below from the Observer article, why believe a note left by supposed Zetas when there is eyewitness testimony that the note was not there when the body is first discovered? Apparently, it is only after the police and marines come to investigate that a note from Zetas appears:

Apart from the barbarism of his killing, Víctor Báez’s death bore another hallmark of a narco execution: a note pinned to his torso, this one reading: “Here’s what happens to traitors and people who act clever. Sincerely, the Zetas.” But Báez’s colleague says that he learned from the marines “that the note was not there when the body was discovered by a neighbour who found Víctor’s door open – it was put there later… by someone, for some reason”.

Compare this information with the similar account of one of the most spectacular massacres officially attributed to Zetas also in Veracruz. News reports in REFORMA (a conservative paper affiliated with the PAN government) at the time said that the bodies bore hallmarks of military-style torture. Family members of some of the victims proved that their dead relatives (most of them young men and women) had no criminal records and no involvement in any criminal activity. In fact, there was evidence that they had been picked up at random, tortured, killed and dumped in Veracruz with messages penned on their bodies supposedly from Zetas…  These stories have been cited in published articles and also posted in full on this list and elsewhere. Feel free to search for them or ask me and I can repost if necessary.  molly
Scores of journalists have died in a country gripped by violence that has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives since 2006

 

Mexico President Felipe Calderon Seeks To Cement Legacy In Last Address–AP

President Calderon gave his final INFORME today…a “state of the union” speech. Note this interesting sentence in the AP story:
“Government statistics show 21,500 homicides in the first half of 2012, compared to about 25,000 for the entire year of 2007, Calderon’s first full year in office.”
 
According to the latest releases from INEGI, there were 8,867 murders in 2007… So, I’m not sure what statistics AP is using… 

If there were indeed 21,500 homicides in the first 6 months of 2012, then my estimate of about 116,000 dead for Calderon’s term would be much higher…

I’ll try to gather more information and analysis on the President’s speech and post tomorrow…molly

Mexico, before and after Calderon’s drug war…LATimes

Still no mention of the INEGI numbers released last week and other releases of numbers from the PGR and other Mexican agencies and reported in the Mexican press and on the Frontera List recently.  And in Le Monde.  From following the Mexico news for many years (Frontera List existed back into the 1990s) I archived stories of the violence spiking in 2004-2005… Actually, the real hotspots at that time were in Nuevo Laredo and other cities in the eastern border region…as well as in Chihuahua and Michoacan as reported here.  The full report mentioned in the LATimes article is available here.

 

 

LEGITIMATE HOMICIDE…

As I was driving home today and listening to the news about Todd Akin and “legitimate rape“…

I thought, well, what we have been seeing in Mexico for (at least) the last 6 years is a government that says there is homicide and then, there is “legitimate homicide.” And government mouth-pieces ranging from mayors and police chiefs of Juarez, to governors of Chihuahua and on up to Secretaries of Gobernacion, Defense, and Public Security and on up to President Calderon himself have consistently said that “90 percent of the dead are criminals being killed by other criminals.” [legitimate homicide…] The recent Washington Post article quotes numerous government spokespersons in Juarez reinforcing this idea that all of the killing happened between criminals — “legitimate homicides”– and government forces are now bringing calm to the city… All this at the very moment when the Mexican government is being forced to admit that it cannot legitimately classify homicides at all since it lacks the capability to investigate more than one or two percent of the crimes and now the national statistical agency says that despite all the claims of “winning the drug war,” there were more homicides (by far) in 2011 than in any other year since Calderon took office (or any year prior to that since the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)… Here is the REFORMA article from today on the new INEGI numbers.  I’ll post something more comparative tomorrow…a GOOGLE translation of the REFORMA piece is below…and a little chart I am working on comparing the INEGI releases from 2011 and today. According to my first look at this new data, with estimates of what will happen for the remaining months of Calderon’s term, we are looking 116,869 homicides during the sexenio. And these are all connected to real government data and real body counts. NOT including estimates of disappeared people or bodies yet to be uncovered from clandestine graves… [feel free to check my arithmetic]  Molly Molloy
GOOGLE TRANSLATION: 
27,199 murders recorded in 2011
Chihuahua, according to INEGI, is the state with the highest number of violent deaths with an average of 131 murders per 100,000 inhabitants
By REFORM / Writing
Mexico City (August 20, 2012). – In 2011 there were 27,199 intentional homicides in Mexico, the highest in the six-year period, according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). The figures are derived from the information provided by the administrative records of the Registry Offices 723 4000
Civil Registry and 96 thousand prosecutor agencies that provide monthly data on deaths accidental and violent, precise INEGI in a statement. The Institute notes that the company with the highest number of deaths was Chihuahua, which occurred in
average of 131 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, and the lowest rate was Yucatan, with three cases. “To facilitate comparison of data from homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, was an exercise by the INEGI, for population estimates for each of the years of the series to be present, consistent with the results of the Census of Population and Housing 2010, “says the Institute. “So these calculations will not match other data generated from official projections current population are based on the Second Population and Housing 2005 and conciliation
population of 2005. ” According to the annual breakdown presented by the Institute, in 2006 there were 10,452 deaths, while in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 occurred 8,867, 14 006, 19,803 and 25,757, respectively. However, last year, according to the cut last July, have not finished it processes generation of statistics, the figure reached 27,199 deaths.
Copyright © Grupo Reforma Information Service
And here is a comment on the earlier post by my colleague at Cal State Northridge on the news media complicity in this continuing falsifying of the record:
_______________________
Amazing (but not surprising) to think this is not a big story in the U.S. Plus, a great example of how government agencies shape and manipulate reality. The Mexican government definition of drug-related crime is as bogus as the definition of gang-related crime in the U.S. The purpose, of course, is different, but the effect has been catastrophic for poor people in both instances.
The result of this, as pointed out by Molly, is that news media organizations have been reporting Mexico’s government figures without challenging the government, which means a reduction of the size of the impact on Mexican society. Instead of 50 or 60,000 drug-related killings, we should be talking about 100,000+. Think of Vietnam: 50,000 U.S. soldiers killed (and the impact on American society). Now, imagine double that size with a population half the size of the U.S. during Vietnam. Nobody in Mexico has remained untouched by this. And this is not the end yet… From Jose Luis Benavides
LINKS TO SOURCES FOR NUMBERS ARE BELOW:
  INEGI total homicides reported Aug 2012* INEGI total homicides reported July 2011+ SNSP
2005 9,921 9,921  
2006 10,452 10,452  
2007 8,867 8,867  
2008 14,006 14,006  
2009 19,803 19,803  
2010 25,757 24,374  
2011 27,199  
2012 (Jan-June estimate from SNSP)# 10,617    
July-Dec est. @ 1770 per month 10,620    
TOTAL 2007-2012 Calderon’s term 116,869   104,977 (estimate SNSP as per Reforma, Aug 15 2012 + July-Dec 2012 est.)&

Mexican government admits it doesn’t know how many homicides are related to drug war…

Yesterday, REFORMA reported that a spokesman for the federal government in Mexico stated that this administration will not release a new number of “homicides related to organized crime” before the end of Calderon’s sexenio.  The main focus of the article is that this will not be done because the government cannot accurately determine the causes of the homicides. This is exactly what I have been saying consistently on this list and elsewhere for several years.

 The government will release the complete tally of homicidios dolosos or intentional homicides as tallied by SNSP.  The numbers I’ve report most often use INEGI data for the earlier years of the sexenio and SNSP for 2011 forward.  I think that these numbers are somewhat higher because INEGI data does not separate the homicidios dolosos from other homicides that are what would be classified as negligent or accidental in the US… The differences are not huge. The REFORMA article gives a total of 94,357 through June 2012; INSIGHT CRIME says the SNSP figure for Jan-June 2012 is 10,617. If the average homicides per month (1,770) is extrapolated through the end of November 2012 (when Calderon’s term ends) the total will be 19,464. Added to the previous SNSP number, we would have a total of about 103,204.  I think the eventual number will be higher than that and considering the government’s political motives, I’m comfortable with my current estimate of 110,000. As some of the national figures (including Javier Sicilia) quoted in the article say, these numbers do not include the numbers of missing and disappeared people, nor the bodies that are still being found buried in clandestine graves in many places in the country.
The content of the government spokesman’s statement is almost exactly what I have been saying for years–that the criteria used to determine what is or is not an “organized crime related homicide” is bogus:
__________
He further explained: “They set the criteria and said, ‘well, let’s see…if they used weapons of heavy caliber, if they moved the body, if the body is bound, if there are signs of torture…if two or more of these (characteristics) are present then the homicide could be attributed to organized crime ‘. They had some methodological support for what was published but it was only an approximation, as if they are just saying, ‘yes, this could be organized crime,’ ” he said.

__________

I will look around for more statistics to see if a better estimate is possible. It is interesting that this admission by the government is first published by REFORMA. REFORMA’s oft-cited “Ejecumetro” has for years used the same or similar criteria to determine which killings are related to organized crime and these much lower numbers have been frequently reported in the Mexican national media. The REFORMA data are also used by the Transborder Institute (TBI) in their monthly publications on the drug war. It will be interesting to see how this policy change–admission–backtracking (what else could we call it?) by the Calderon administration will be treated in the international media–if it is noticed at all.
Borderland Beat has a better translation of the Reforma article. Also take a look at the comments.
Here is one of them:
Does anyone know why all that is going in Mexico hardly makes it on the evening news here in the US?
It’s like the domestic dispute next door that everyone is aware of but we all want to pretend its not happening. It really is strange.
More Mexican government officials report that the new database for compiling homicide and missing persons data nationally is extremely behind and indefinitely delayed. A Google translation is below:
GOOGLE TRANSLATION

New national database for homicides delayed

Prado Henia

Agency Reform | 08.17.2012 | 22:24

Federal District-The new database that will store the numbers of intentional homicide and missing persons, which was negotiated by state attorneys and the Attorney General, has not been able to start walking.

The reasons for the delay of this new registration agreement over a year ago is that there is partial information, wrong or delay in delivering it.

An early start date for this database, set for May 12 was postponed and finally determined that as of June 15 would begin to flow data to concentrate on this record.

“The National Conference reaffirms its commitment to fulfill the mandate of the CNSP to establish databases nationally, for registration of intentional homicide and missing persons.

“For this, the law enforcement agencies are committed to providing complete records of these databases later than June 15 this year, expand, update and validate the respective information permanently,” said May 24 the entitled the PGR, Marisela Morales.

Federal District connection, Jaime Lopez-Aranda, head of the National Information Center of the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), said that while the collection of information is substantial homicide, shall be at least one other months to complete the count. “The database of voluntary manslaughter is compiling the PGR will allow us to have more accurate data of victimology, for example, and not only the preliminary investigation, it secretes the victim’s age, sex of victim, location.

“We are really behind. Promised for June 15, I hope it comes out in September and October, because many entities provided information as we had to be delivered, then you should return it, “he said.

This new database and updated monthly to the SESNSP on its website will be the only references that citizens have about the violent murders occurred in the country.

Neither breaks down the number of executed by organized crime. (Agency Reform)

*************************************************************************************************************

Molly Molloy

At least 83,541 homicides in Mexico during Calderon’s term–El Diario

This article by Luz del Carmen Sosa appeared yesterday in EL DIARIO…I have not found a link to the original yet, but this one from puronarco.com seems to be complete. There is also a translation from Borderland Beat. If anyone has the full original version of the article from El Diario, please post or send me the link.
 
Highlights: government data from the Public Ministries of 28 states on homicides (specifically homicidios dolosos or intentional homicides) were provided through the Mexican transparency law (similar to the US Freedom of Information Act). The data reveal that from Dec 1 2006 when Calderon took office up through December 2011, there have been at least 83,541 homicides. The four states that DID NOT report homicides are: Coahuila, Durango, Morelos and Tlaxcala. I know from following media reports and in looking at the previous releases from different government agencies that Coahuila and Durango have been very violent during the years of Calderon’s administration. Some of the most violent mass killings have been reported from the Lagunera area that includes parts of both Coahuila and Durango state. The investigation is continuing with the effort to obtain data from these states as well.  The officials are legally obligated to provide the information. 
 
At least 8.4 percent of the victims nationally are women, though state authorities cannot determine the sex of 184 of the bodies counted. Most of the homicide victims are between the ages of 21 and 30. 
 
The states with the most homicides are Chihuahua (16,592) and Estado de México (8,602). Though not in the article, it should be noted that the Estado de Mexico (essentially includes all the population in the central area around the capital city minus the population of the Distrito Federal) and it is the largest in population of all the states of Mexico with more than 15 million inhabitants. [http://cuentame.inegi.org.mx/monografias/informacion/mex/poblacion/default.aspx?tema=me&e=15] Chihuahua with twice as many homicide victims has a population of 3.4 million [http://cuentame.inegi.org.mx/monografias/informacion/chih/default.aspx?tema=me&e=08]
 
The article reports 1,304 of the 16,592 homicide victims in Chihuahua state were women–the highest number of “feminicidios” in the country.  This statement is relatively meaningless in terms of the statistics because Chihuahua also had by far the highest number of homicides overall. The percentage of female victims in Chihuahua is actually about 7.8 percent, slightly lower than the overall percentage of female victims in all of the states reporting (8.4 percent). So in relation to the TOTAL victims, there were relatively fewer female homicide victims in the state of Chihuahua compared to those in the other states. In other words, yes, there are more murders of women in Chihuahua than in any other state. But that is because there are so many more murders total in Chihuahua… And, the percentage of female victims is actually slightly LOWER than in other states.
 
The article does not give the exact figure reported for Ciudad Juarez, but says that the city had the highest number of homicides in the state, followed by the capital, Chihuahua City. The border city of Juarez had nearly 11,000 murders from Dec 2006 through December 2011 and accounted for 13.4 percent of all the murders in Mexico. 
 
In terms of the quality of the data, the article indicates serious omissions. Chiapas (for example) reported only 77 murders in the time period (dec 2006-dec 2011) but the official reporting for the public ministry there says:

“From 2006-2009 no record was found of any homicidios dolosos.” Chiapas appears only to have started counting in 2010. 

Extrapolating from these data provided by the public ministries of the 28 states reporting, we have a base number of 83,541 homicides from Dec 2006-Dec 2011, we can use the number reported nationally by the Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SNSP) of 8,622 homicides between January-May 2012. 
That is an average of 1,732 homicides per month. [see: http://www.insightcrime.org/insight-latest-news/item/2895-violence-in-mexico-2012-a-halfway-report for this number from SNSP] … Considering that the murders have been reported to be decreasing slightly in 2012, let’s estimate an average of 1,500 homicides per month for June-November 2012 (Pen~a Nieto will take office Dec 1 2012) for an estimate of 9,000 more homicides for the remainder of Calderon’s term. Added to the 92,203 as of the end of May we get an estimate of 101,203 homicides.  Keep in mind that the data obtained through the transparency law and reported in this article does not include ANY numbers from 4 states, including two very violent states: Durango and Coahuila. 
 
Dec 2006-Dec 2011 =                  83,541
Jan-May 2012 (SNSP data) =          8,662
TOTAL as of end of May 2012 =   92,203
Estimate June-Nov 2012 =             9,000
Est. TOTAL Calderon’s term =    101,203
For a person who was always bad at math, I am polishing up at least my arithmetic.  I have looked at the numbers reported by INEGI for 2005-2010. From those numbers we can at least get 4 years of data quickly for the states that did not report homicide numbers and this gives us another estimate of at least 106,392. Considering the missing data and state entities that seem not to have counted homicides at all for several years, I believe it is very reasonable to estimate that by the end of Calderon’s administration more than 110,000 Mexicans will have been victims of homicide.

INEGI data 2007-2010

Durango          2804

Coahuila          1068

Tlaxcala           228

Morelos           1089

TOTAL             5189

101,203 + 5,189 = 106,392

 Molly Molloy
 

Mexico homicide numbers 2007-2012 (est.) chart

YEAR

TOTAL  HOMICIDES*

U.S. HOMICIDES@

2007 8,867# 17, 128
2008 14,006# 16,465
2009 19,803# 15,399
2010 24,374# 14,748
2011 22,223+ 14,000 (est. based on rate of decrease)
2012 (Jan-May) 8,662+
2012 (est. Jan-June) 10, 394
2012 (est. projection for year) 20,788 14,000 (est. based on rate of decrease)
Est. total homicides as of June 2012 99,667  
Est. total homicides durig Calderon’s term of office 110, 061 91,740

Posted above are numbers of actual homicides for Mexico as a whole reported by different agencies of the Mexican government. I can provide the links to the sources. Molly

Data from official Mexican statistical agency (INEGI) # and from the National System for Public Security (SNSP) +

U.S. homicides from FBI Uniform Crime Reports @

U.S. population– 311,591,917 Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Mexico population– 112,336,538 Source: National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)