Surge in violence in Mexico’s drug war? Figures are inconclusive; 30 deaths in 2 days–Proceso

Several articles below on the recent upsurge in violence in Mexico. The LA Times reports on discrepancies in the numbers of homicides reported and not reported in recent weeks/months. A Reforma article from August 13 explicitly says that the government is “hiding the numbers.”  This is one of the first articles I have seen in either the Mexican or US or international press that questions the government’s criteria for separating so-called “drug-related” or “organized crime related” homicides from the general tally of killings. 

From the REFORMA piece ( I will try to post a complete translation later…):

“The lack of homicide investigations on the part of the state and federal authorities, the absence of coordination to determine which are linked to organized crime and which are pot, as well as a weak (feeble, flimsy) methodology, all are factors that obscure knowledge of the real number of homicides, say public security experts.”

“La falta de investigacion de los homicidios por parte de autoridades estatales y federales, la ausencia de coordinacion para determinar cuales estan vinculados al crimen organizado y cuales no, ademas de una metodologia endeble, son factores que impiden conocer la cifra real de ejecutados, opinan especialistas en seguridad publica. ”

This is exactly the same point I have made many times on the Frontera List and most recently in this Phoenix New Times article.

Finally it is clearly stated in a major Mexican newspaper and it is beginning to be hinted at in the US press. Also, the LA Times piece is the only reference I have seen in the US press to the release of homicide data from state attorneys general reported last week in El Diario that revealed an actual homicide count of more than 83,000–MINUS any figures at all from 4 states and only counting through December 2011…. For that study, see here.

I have read and heard from Mexicans living in exile in the US much speculation that there will be an increase in violence as Calderon’s term comes to an end. The Proceso article makes this explicit. The person who sent the article to me points out the echo of what happened in Juarez from 2008-2011–that is–when the Mexican army, federal police and other security forces are deployed, the violence increases dramatically. I think that we are seeing evidence of this now in reports from Nuevo Leon, Durango, Veracruz and Mexico City. molly molloy

Mexico’s drug deaths blamed on departing president’s security strategy

Sources disagree on Juárez homicide figures–EPTimes

Here’s an article I missed in the El Paso Times (and yes, I was a source for some of the stuff in the article…) It is interesting that just today, El Diario has a story quoting a spokesman for the FGE (the Chihuahua State Attorney General) saying that organized crime related homicides were 60% of the total July homicides in the city…  See this link.

I would clarify this one statement in the article:

“But since only a small percentage of crimes in Mexico are investigated and resolved, Molloy said, it’s not possible to conclusively say which killings are related to organized crime.” 
It is not me saying that only a small percentage of crimes in Mexico are investigated or solved, but rather, the Mexican government itself that says this… Here is one link from 2010…Many more can be found hereNo investigan 95% de muertes en “guerra”
Also, the numbers that I have regularly posted here on the frontera list are numbers from various Mexican official sources…things that are available in the press or in open access web sources. It is very interesting to see the different numbers provided by individual spokesman for Mexican agencies when reporters ask for information directly…  
 

6 killed in Juarez over the weekend; 602 so far in 2012

Six people were killed in Juarez during the weekend and there have been a total of 21 murders since the beginning of August. In August alone, there were 7 murders.  The article contains a summary of the murder statistics for the year 2012. By this count, there have been a total of 602 people killed so far this year in Juarez. This comes to an average of 2.6 people per day.  This is definitely an improvement over recent years and it is also twice the tally for any complete year since 2007. There is also an article on the massacre of 7 people last night at a bar in the middle of the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.  molly
January–118 homicides, 12 of these were women, 2 minors, 8 police and 2 other officials among the victims.
February–82 homicides, 10 women, one minor and one policeman
March–105 homicides, 15 women, 4 minors and 9 police
April–108 homicides
May–74 homicides
June–49 homicides, including 2 minors
July–45 homicides
August (as of Aug 12)–21 homicides
TOTAL FOR 2012–602

Deadly Addiction–series in the Albuquerque Journal

 

This is the first installment of an Albuquerque Journal series on drug use in New Mexico… The thing that strikes me in my initial reading of this is how disconnected the problem is from the hysteria over Mexico and “fighting the drug war” there.  It makes the terrifying level of violence and death in Mexico all the more absurd when we realize that much of the drug abuse problem in New Mexico and in other areas of the US also, is a domestic issue–a family issue… Something that requires health care, education, job security, opportunities in society, etc.  Remembering the piece I posted this morning about a supposed US military plan to “kill or capture Chapo Guzman” — does anyone really think that such a thing would stop the abuse of drugs in the US or reduce the violence in Mexico? molly

Excerpts:

“We are, from an enforcement and prosecution viewpoint, designed to deal with drug trafficking organizations,” U.S. Attorney Gonzales said. “Prescription drugs present a different dynamic.” Keith Brown, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement office in Albuquerque, put it this way: “There is no prescription drug cartel to target.”

• Undercover agents bought grams of heroin for $100 — the same price as in 1977.• The purity of the heroin agents purchased was three to four times the purity level of heroin sold just 10 years ago.• The heroin was cheaper than prescription opiate painkillers on the street, which average $1 per milligram. That’s $10 for a 10-milligram hydrocodone pill.

 

 
 

 

US military plan to capture or kill Chapo Guzman–estilo Osama bin Laden

Headline says it all…Navy Seals, Northern Command, the whole deal… Only problem is Mexico doesn’t like such a plan… Oh, another problem as pointed out by one of the concise comments to the Proceso story online:
Están locos?, acabar con el chapo? Y el negocio donde queda?.

El problema no es el chapo, si ellos son los burros del salón. El problema son los que están atrás del chapo, empresarios, políticos, gobiernos.
El problema es el sistema.

Are they crazy? Do away with Chapo? And the business? What about that?
The problem is not El Chapo…The problem are those behind Chapo–businessmen, politicians, the governments.
The problem is the system…
I posted the story from El Diario with a google translation
GOOGLE TRANSLATION :
EU has plan to end the Chapocomo did with Osama
J. Carrasco / J. Esquivel
Process | 08.11.2012 | 23:38
Federal District-face how hard it was to catch Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the U.S. government has prepared a plan to capture the drug dealer, the best known leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, in an operation similar to that undertaken in Pakistan last year to find Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaida.
 
Military sources in Mexico and the U.S. confirm the existence of the plan, which was developed by the Pentagon several months ago and now is being held because it is designed to be executed only by Americans, an idea that is not viewed with pleasure by their Mexican counterparts.
 
The plan even as he was introduced to Felipe Calderon, who promoted it among the armed forces. And although there was a sharp rejection of the Army and Navy of Mexico, Washington has not thrown away and propose it to the next president.
 
The plan there is an order from the Department of Defense and Northern Command have it considered as a priority mission, said a senior Mexican Army which by agreement is kept anonymous. The Pentagon claims due to the constant “dry wells” of the Mexican government to detain Guzman Loera escaped from the prison’s maximum security Puente Grande, Jalisco, in January 2001 during the presidency of Vicente Fox
 
The information needed to capture the drug lord was provided by U.S. agencies, primarily responsible for the war on drugs, DEA, so each “failed attempt” by the Mexican government has angered Washington.
 
For Mexico, the eventual U.S. military intervention in Mexico to take over the detention of “El Chapo” is “a very risky,” because in addition to a clear violation of the Constitution would lead to all sorts of problems, said the military official .
 
The proposed operation is detailed in the Safety Plan to Support Mexico designed by military strategists of the special forces of the Department of Defense United States, the Pentagon.
 
The execution of the operation would be in charge of the main U.S. special forces, Navy SEALs (an acronym of the words is, air, land), consisting of navy commandos trained for covert actions in enemy territory by sea, air or earth.
 
The operation would be a copy of the Pentagon ran secret in Pakistan to “capture or kill” bin Laden, who was finally killed in his hideout in May 2011.
 
From that experience Pentagon controls Calderon explained the proposal to stop “El Chapo”, in what was defined as an operation “simple, quick and surgical”.
 
In the mountains of Sinaloa, where Guzman Loera in and out at will, capturing three teams require special SEAL with the support of three digital high-tech aircraft operated by remote control and armed with missiles, according to the plan. Special forces would move by Sinaloa and Durango in helicopter gunships. On reaching the target two of the teams on the ground and another act would remain in the air, backed by drones, to prevent any retaliatory criminal group.
 
In 10 or 15 minutes both teams would catch the target and assault, according to the proposed operation, if you eliminate resistance found in the act, like all his guard.
 
The operation against “El Chapo” would be noted and addressed “real time” from the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, and even from the offices of the National Security Council of the White House.
 
The plan does not fit the Mexican military or Army or Navy. Mexican soldiers enter only to present the results.
 
According to the military command consulted Process is clear that the U.S. has the ability to capture “El Chapo” in Mexico, but Mexican participation to simulate the Americans would have to dress up in uniforms of any domestic corporation, as the Federal Police.
 
For the Northern Command, created in 2002 by the Pentagon after the attacks of Al Qaeda in order to perform “delicate” to “the security of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico,” the capture of “El Chapo” is considered a mission.
 
Washington equates to Mexican drug cartels and terrorists and therefore are considered a threat to national security. Consequently, the Northern Command takes as its obligation to act against drug traffickers, the military chief added.
 
According to information gathered in Washington, Calderon accepted the U.S. proposal, but when the Pentagon said the operation would be carried out exclusively by U.S. military forces, it was rejected by the secretariats of National Defense the Navy, although this, unlike the Army, has favored his relationship with his American counterpart.
 
The head of the executive tried to convince the Mexican military leaders, while representatives of the Pentagon told them it would be analyzed and “after” would give the answer.
 
In desperation he argued that it would be an undercover operation and fast “that could fix” to avoid exposing the Pentagon, with the immediate departure of the seals, but the rejection of the Army and Navy was overwhelming. His arguments were the constitutional prohibition and the defense of sovereignty in the presence of foreign troops.
 
After the meeting with the commanders of the Army and Navy, Calderón ended by giving the Pentagon’s refusal to participate within Mexican soldiers and sailors.
 
Under these conditions, the U.S. Defence Department made it clear that the operation was inconceivable. But the military consulted is certain that the U.S. government “will press the next president of Mexico.”
 
To avoid surprises Mexican armed forces began a campaign among civil authorities to warn of the risk in a covert operation to capture or kill foreign “El Chapo”.
 
Invasions Experts
 
Indeed Obama issued on 24 July last year an executive order to block U.S. properties transnational criminal organizations four: The Brotherhood of the Circle or The Family of Eleven, which operates in the former Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, La Camorra in Italy, the Japanese Yakuza and the Zetas.
 
After the execution of Bin Laden, “El Chapo” for the United States became the world’s most wanted man. Both the DEA and the FBI have as their main objective abroad.
 
The operation proposed by the Pentagon to stop “El Chapo” in Mexico has been accompanied by a series of arrests of its members, associates and family in Mexico, Colombia, United States, and last week in Belize.
 
United States also has on its list of drug kingpins worldwide two sons and first wife of “El Chapo”, so there is an order to freeze the assets are or have accounts there. This is Ivan Guzman Salazar Archivaldo, “The Chapito” Ovidio Lopez and Maria Guzman Salazar Hernandez or Alexandrina.
 
The DEA also seeks to Jose Alfredo Guzman Salazar, who gave Navy arrested last June but the PGR immediately denied that this was the son of the head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
 
In the ongoing trial against him in federal court in Chicago, the U.S. government seeks to seize at least a thousand dollars 374 million, he says, has obtained the criminal organization in the past seven years, after the leak of “The Chapo “of the Puente Grande prison. (J. Carrasco / Jesquivel / Agency Reform)

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
 

El Paso Peace Caravan- Javier Sicilia’s Movement for Peace w/Justice and Dignity…Aug 20-22

The El Paso Peace Caravan invites you to participate in Javier Sicilia’s “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity” August 20-22. 

The death of Javier Sicilia’s son catalyzed the creation of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. The Movement has since evolved into a campaign calling for an end to the War on Drugs. The US Peace Caravan has identified the following five main issues to focus on while in the United States: Drug War policies, arms trafficking, money laundering, U.S. foreign aid policy, and immigration. However, while in El Paso, the Caravan will specifically focus on arms trafficking.

In the words of Javier Sicilia, “we invite you to be our counterpart in an exercise of civilian diplomacy that can return peace, justice and dignity to the victims of this war. We hope we will be able to count on your valuable participation as an ally and partner in this historic event.”

The U.S. Peace Caravan will start from San Diego and visit 25 cities in route to their final destination of Washington D.C. The Caravan will arrive in El Paso August 20th. All are invited to the bienvenida in the San Jacinto Plaza at 9 pm.

On Tuesday, August 21st, please join us at a City Hall meeting at 9 am. Show your support for the arms trafficking Code of Conduct, a resolution that will increase transparency and accountability for arms sales in El Paso.

At 7 pm we will meet back at San Jacinto Plaza for the signing of the Arms Trafficking Code of Conduct. The Caravan will then march from the plaza to Annunciation House (1003 San Antonio). The night will conclude at Annunciation House with a vigil projection of victims’ names who have died from the violence in Mexico.

Please join us as we host the Peace Caravan.
If you would like to volunteer with the event, please contact peacecaravanelpaso@gmail.com

The Caravan’s official website can be found here:
http://www.caravanforpeace.org/caravan/

Nota de prensa: para diseminar el 25 de julio de 2012
INVITACION A PARTICIPAR EN CARAVANA POR LA PAZ
DE JAVIER SICILIA
El Paso, TX—El asesinato de Juan Franciso lanzó a la fama internacional a su padre, Javier Sicilia, quien
se ha convertido en reflejo y símbolo del sufrimiento de miles de mexicanos. Sicilia, quien es uno de los
poetas más laureados de México, hizo la promesa de no escribir más poesía por esta terrible tragedia y de
no hacer más poesía de nuevo hasta conseguir justicia, no solamente para su hijo sino para las víctimas de
la violencia de su querido país, aquellas víctimas sin nombre y sin cara. Han sido ya 60,000 muertos,
10,000 desaparecidos y 160,000 refugiados internos en los últimos seis años el costo real de la guerra
contra las drogas, sin mencionar que 98% de los crímenes en México quedan impunes.
Como resultado de su protesta, dos caravanas viajaron por México pidiendo una paz que no hay y
pidiendo que cese la violencia que es resultado terrible de la guerra fracasada contra las drogas. En este
verano la Caravana por la Paz  viajará por Los Estados Unidos y empezará su recorrido en San Diego,
terminando en Washington, D.C.  El Paso tiene el privilegio de ser el anfitrión de la Caravana del 20 hasta
el 22 de agosto de 2012.
La Caravana quiere llamar la atención sobre los siguientes temas para promover un diálogo con la
sociedad civil de Los Estados Unidos y con el mismo gobierno estadounidense: la necesidad de cesar el
tráfico de armas, la necesidad de platicar sobre alternativas a la prohibición de las drogas, la necesidad de
tener mejor herramientas para combatir el lavado de dinero y la necesidad de promover la cooperación
binacional para asegurar los derechos humanos y la seguridad de los migrantes.
La Caravana quisiera invitar a toda la comunuidad y a los medios de comunicacion a ser <<copartícipes
ejerciendo la diplomacia civil que puede devolver la paz, la justicia y la dignidad a los víctimas de esta
guerra.  Esperamos que podamos contar con su valiosa participación como aliado y socio en este evento
histórico.>> (Javier Sicilia, Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad).
Para más información o para pedir entrevistas, favor de comunicarse con Katie (Anita) Hudak, en el
número 720-401-8195, o con Ali Boyd en peacecaravanelpaso@gmail.com

44 homicides in July; 584 so far in 2012

El Diario reports 44 homicides in the month of July, another decrease from 49 in June.  Diario gives a total of 580 for the year so far, but by the monthly tallies I have, I think a better figure is 584.  This is an average of 2.7 murders each day in the city. Projecting that the downward trend continues and murders fall to 30 per month for the rest of the year, 2012 will end with more than 700 homicides. About 320 people were victims in 2007–the highest figure ever recorded in the city before the explosion of violence in 2008.

Jan 122; Feb 82; Mar 105; Apr 108; May 74; June 49; July 44

This figure is also consistent with a report an independent researcher got from an official at the Juarez morgue earlier this week–582.  I believe that the discrepancy is due to how some crimes are categorized as “homicidios culposos” rather than dolosos… But I will report the number of 584 as I think it is more accurate.

Three of the victims in July were women. The article reports a total of 70 women victims in 2012, but adding up the monthly reports comes to 73.
Jan 12; Feb 10; Mar 15; Apr 18; May 6; June 9; July 3
Women are 12.5 percent of the total homicide victims in the city.  This rate is consistent with rates over the years: when the overall number of homicides are higher as in 2008-2011, the percentage of the total who are women has tended to go down to between 5 and 8 percent.  When the homicide rates decrease to what seems to be “normal” for the city (as in the current downward trend), then the percentage of the victims who are women rises slightly. I’ve posted below the Diario article all of the numbers I have since 1993.  molly

Juarez Murders 1993-July 2012

 

Total 1993-2007 = 3,538 (0.7 per day)

2007 =  320

2008 = 1,623

2009 = 2,754

2010 = 3,622 (**)

2011 = 2,086

2012 = 584 (as of July 31)

Total killed since 2007 = 10,989

Total killed since 1993 = 14,527

Average of 6.3 people per day since Jan 2008

(**original media tally for 2010=3,111; March 2011 Fiscalia report = 3,951; Fiscalia spokesman gave new figure of 3,622 to Reuters reporter in October 2011)

 

MURDERS OF WOMEN

1993-2007………………427 (3,538) – 12%

2008 ……………………….87   (1,623) – 5.3%

2009……………………….164 (2,754)—5.9%

2010 ………………………304 (3,622) – 8.3%

2011 …………………….. 196  (2,086) – 9.3%

2012 (as of July 31) ………73 (584) – 12.5%

Women………1,251 ( 14,527 total victims) – 8.6%

Women = 8.6 percent

 of total murder victims over the past 18 years

Statistics from El Diario based on official data from the Chihuahua State Attorney General