It’s been four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderón began a concerted effort to curb drug-related violence across Mexico, deploying 50,000 federal troops charged with dismantling the country’s drug cartels and drug transportation networks.
Much to the chagrin of Calderón, his government’s escalation was met head-on by the cartels, resulting in a 60 percent increase in annual drug-related deaths across Mexico in 2010, according to Mexican officials.
Calderon said Wednesday that although 2010 “has been a year of extreme violence” with a total of 15,273 drug-related killings, the figures are proof of his government’s sustained commitment to stymieing the cartels.
“We are aware that we are going through a very difficult time on security issues,” he said while presenting new data system to track drug-related crimes at a meeting with anti-crime officials.
The 2010 figures bring the four-year death tally to 34,612, asserting Mexico as one of the most violent countries in the world today. To put the death toll in perspective, there are roughly 17,000 homicides annually in the U.S., a country which has nearly three-times the population of Mexico.
Federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire broke down the deaths to reporters, which included 30,913 execution-style killings, 3,153 deaths in gang shootouts and 546 deaths involving attacks on authorities.
The violence continues to be the most extreme in Ciudad Juárez, where the battle between the local Juárez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel – led by Mexico’s most powerful drug-lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán – has turned Ciudad Juárez into one of the world’s deadliest cities. A site of many manufacturing plants that fashion products for U.S. consumers, the city boasts a murder rate of about 250 for every 100,000 people.
The astounding death totals are higher than combat-related deaths in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, exemplifying Mexico’s problems in curbing violence between the cartels over the lucrative smuggling routes to the U.S.
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