This year, records have shown that Mexico has suffered more murders than ever. From numbers in November, 2017 averaged 69 murders per day, totaling to 20,878 from January to November.
To put it in perspective: in 2011 the United States had around 40 murders a day on average; Mexico averaged around 63. The U.S. had a population of 309.3 million then, and Mexico had 117.3 million. Despite the fact that the murder rate per capita was significantly worse than the U.S. back then, the murder rates in Mexico have continued to climb — reaching an all time high this year 20,878 (though the processed data for 2017 only counts the first ten months and there is still time to go — these numbers are changing every day).
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been struggling to stifle gang violence, but it has only gotten worse. On top of that, there has also been a significant increase in public murders of figures in the news or killings used to make a statement. Despite the president’s efforts and promises, the murder rate continues to rise and it threatens his chances for the upcoming re-election in 2018. Part of his initial campaign was to decrease violence, and so the public’s trust in those promises has begun to waiver.
Most recently to hit the headlines, six people were hung from overpasses near Los Cabos on Wednesday. This method has been used in other cities, like Mexico City, as a form of terrorism — seeing hanging bodies on the highway on your way to work can make quite the impression.
These deaths include the deaths of many journalists — in fact, barring war zones like Syria and Iraq, Mexico is the most dangerous place for a journalist to work. Six journalists were killed as a direct result of their work, regarding cartels or corruption within the Mexican government, in 2017. According to Reporters Without Borders, that number climbs all the way up to 11. On top of these, there are many deaths and disappearances with mysterious links to the cartels that cannot be proven and therefore cannot be added to the statistics.
The police have tried to combat the journalist deaths, giving them a direct line to the nearby units and even installing panic buttons for journalists who want them.
However, the murders have gone beyond local cartel disputes, even local journalists. Netflix location scout Carlos Muñoz Portal was found shot to death in his car having left to take some pictures of a location for the fourth season of “Narcos.” He was 47, and had proved a reliable location scout throughout Mexico for many movies and TV shows. He worked on films like “Sicario,” “Apocalypto” and “Spectre.”
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.