It’s hard to wrap your brain around the numbers, to make sense of what they portend. Mexico, home to the world’s richest man, has had more than 10,000 people killed — often horrifically — since January 2007, just a month after President Felipe Calderon declared a literal war on drugs in his country.
Calderon has flooded the country with nearly 50,000 soldiers and federal police to combat the various regional cartels — Juarez, Sinaloa, Gulf and Zetas — mostly in the northern and northwest parts of Mexico. The United States, through the Merida Initiative, has committed $1.4 billion to fund the effort. The results have been less than stellar.
According to the Los Angeles Times (the only major U.S. newspaper that has been extensively covering this political and social calamity), not only has the military racked up more than 3,400 alleged violations with Mexico’s human rights commission, but in Juarez, the bloodiest of this war’s battlefields — if you can call a city of about 1.2 million people a battlefield — the army’s presence coincided with an increase in slayings. Since 2008, more than 4,000 people have been killed there, though Juarez was being patrolled by about 10,000 troops and federal police. In 2007, there were about 2,300 drug-related killings — in the entire country.
I visited Juarez 26 years ago…. during a trip into Mexico. The people were wonderful to a stranger.