Mexican authorities have recorded 2,234 murders in June. This makes it the deadliest month in the nation in the past 20 years.
Crime has been on a steady rise in the Latin American country in 2017.
Mexico is the second largest economy in Latin America and is a major oil producer and exporter. However, there is a deep socio-economic divide between the affluent and the poor. Much of the rural area in the country is underdeveloped and the cities are home to large slums.
This inequality has played a role in the rise of crime and drug trafficking in the region.
The drug trafficking business from Mexico to the US is worth an estimated $13 billion a year. The northern border especially experiences high levels of violence. Apart from violence between drug cartels, the country has one of the highest rates of kidnapping in the world.
Critics have said that Mexico has been a democracy only in name. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRP) was the de-facto party functioning in the country for decades until 1997 when congressional elections were held. IRP came into power again in 2012.
2017 has been one of the most violent years in the history of the country. The number of murders in the region have increased exponentially. In the month of May, there were 2,186 homicides. Figures show that a person was murdered every 20 minutes in May.
The numbers of homicides are even higher in June with 2,234 murders. In the last six months, there have been 13,726 deaths ruled as homicide. This is an increase of 32.9% over the same period in 2016.
Much of the violence is because of the ongoing drug war between the various gangs. According to a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Mexico is the second deadliest conflict area in the world after Syria. In 2016, 23,000 people died and the numbers are likely to be more this year. The death toll has surpassed countries like Afghanistan and Somalia.
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has launched a vigorous campaign against drug trafficking but it has been largely ineffective. IISS states that this is due to institutionalized corruption within the government.
Our assessment is that if the government doesn’t take drastic and effectual steps to address the violence, then the country will have to face dire consequences. Apart from loss of life, the economy will also take a hit. 8.2% of Mexico’s GDP comes from tourism. With rising violence, the number of tourists will also fall.