Those 'bad hombres' down in Mexico
This is one of those stories that got lost in the U.S. election and the first 120 days of the Trump presidency.
Sadly, and I say so because I have many great contacts south of the border, Mexico is a rather dangerous place, according to a new report:
It was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines.
As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news agenda, Mexico's drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 – second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war.
"This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths [in Mexico] are nearly all attributable to small arms," said John Chipman, chief executive and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual survey of armed conflict on Tuesday.
"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives respectively in 2016, although in lethality they were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received much less attention from the media and the international community," said Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the survey.
Of course, Mexico disputed the findings, as we see via Fausta.
My guess is that their concern is that U.S. tourists will stay away from the popular beach resorts if they read these headlines. Worse than that, the U.S. Department of State could issue travel warnings, as it did before for Easter vacations.
Frankly, Mexico is right that the violence does not affect tourists in Cancún or other popular destinations. Nevertheless, it is happening in Mexico.
Everything is further complicated by the reality that cartels are running wild and controlling portions of the U.S.-Mexico border. Also, the fighting has been intense in places like Tamaulipas, a state south of Texas.
So what happens next?
It will be interesting to see what President Peña-Nieto and President Trump talk about on the phone or in person.
I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Peña-Nieto whispers in Mr. Trump's ear: "Amigo, can you give us a hand fighting these bad hombres?"
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