Politicizing Mexico’s Violence

Politicizing Mexico’s Violence

MEXICO CITY -- For Mexico, 2010 marked the bicentennial of the country's independence and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. It was also the country's most-violent year since President Felipe Calderón launched military operations against the country's powerful drug cartels in 2006.

According to the federal government, 15,273 people lost their lives in 2010 in violence related to the nation's battle against organized crime. The figure represents nearly half of the 34,612 deaths from organized crime registered since 2006 and a 54 percent increase over the number of deaths recorded in 2009. On the positive side of the ledger, the Calderón administration boasts of killing or apprehending 20 of Mexico's 37 most-wanted organized-crime leaders since 2009 and arresting more than 120,000 individuals associated with organized crime. Analysts believe that last year's increase in violence is partly a result of the government's success in removing cartel leaders, which has created violent power struggles among competing crime organizations. The Calderón administration also points to the diminishing number of deaths recorded since the fourth quarter of 2010 as a positive trend for 2011.

However, the public remains largely unconvinced. In an annual poll released last week by Mexico's national statistics institute, respondents throughout the nation were asked to rate the country's security and their sense of personal safety. The poll revealed that Mexicans not only felt less safe in 2010 than in 2009, but that they also expected violence to worsen in the coming year.

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