Crime and Violence

Ejecuciones remain relatively flat nationwide; increased violence in Chihuahua and Guerrero

According to Reforma’s running tally of cartel-related killings, or ejecuciones, such deaths had reached 2,677 nationwide as of June 12. With over two weeks before the end of the first half of 2009, ejecuciones are on track to meet or surpass their 2008 numbers, largely due to sustained violence in Chihuahua and a surge in killings in the states of Guerrero and Durango over 2008. In 2008, Reforma reported a total of 5,183 cartel-related slayings, while the Mexican government’s figures estimated the number of cartel killings at more than 6,000. In either case, a continuation of similar levels of violence through the end of 2009 would nearly match or exceed either count.

Ejecuciones in Chihuahua were up by more than 30 percent for the current reporting period (as of June 12) to 787 for the year. While levels of violence in the state are not yet approaching those early in 2009, the number of killings is creeping up again since the late-March deployment of thousands of soldiers and federal police to Ciudad Juárez. A similar phenomenon occurred in the months following the troop deployments in March 2008, which saw an immediate decline in violence, followed by progressive weeks of escalating violence. Earlier this month, a professor of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez was
shot to death, prompting widespread citizen protest against cartel violence and the seeming inability of the Mexican government to stop it. On the evening of June 20, the federal government deployed another contingent of 1,500 additional troops to Ciudad Juárez, and also sent 1,000 replacement troops for soldiers previously deployed.

Guerrero saw a significant spike in killings over the past month, with 55 recorded between May 15 and June 12, a 35 percent increase over the previous four-week period. On June 6, gunmen and Mexican soldiers engaged in a firefight in the tourist zone of Acapulco, Guerrero, killing 16 of the presumed drug traffickers and two Mexican soldiers. The shootout followed the soldiers’ response to an anonymous report of armed men in a home, where later were seized 36 “long arms,” 13 pistols, and two grenade launchers, along with fragmentation grenades and eight vehicles.
In the face of continued violence and increasing public unrest, particularly in troubled regions such as Chihuahua and Guerrero, Pres. Calderón is adhering as strongly as ever to his message that the Mexican state must respond with all available resources to the challenges presented by organized crime. He reprimanded “governments,” presumably state and municipal, for their complacency in the face of threats posed by the infiltration of organized crime into government functions, and the desire of some to live in a state of false security while state institutions remain vulnerable to criminal influence.

The Calderón administration also pointed to a report on the “Results of Mexican Policy Against Organized Crime,” which suggests that his administration has significantly ramped up efforts to combat drug trafficking, having seized more than 10 times the amount of illicit cash from organized crime that his predecessor seized in a similar period. From December 1, 2000 to April 2003, the Fox administration had seized roughly $31.6 million dollars, compared to the $334 million seized by the Calderón administration. The Calderón administration also reported that it captured 66,621 participants in organized crime during the same period, nearly twice as many as the 35,678 captured by the Fox administration. In March 2009, a similar report, drawing on the Uniform Statistical System for the Analysis of Crime (SEUNAD), indicated that Calderón had made major gains compared to both Fox and his immediate predecessor, Ernesto

From the June Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:

“Ejecutómetro.” Reforma:
“Supera Calderón a Zedillo en lucha contra el hampa,” Milenio, March 1, 2009.
“Visita la Universidad por última ocasión.” El Diario de Juarez June 2, 2009.
Flores Contreras, Ezequiel. “Chocan militares y narcos en Acaplco 18 muertos.” Proceso June 7, 2009.
“Descomisos, 10 veces más que Fox,” El Universal, June 14, 2009.
Melgar, Ivonne. “Reprueba Calderón indiferencias por lucha antinarco.” Excelsior June 19, 2009.

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