A very bad month for Mexico
Let's get back to that rather depressing subject of violence south of the border. We learned today that May was a horrible month, indeed:
Mexico registered a record number of murders last month, officials said, underlining the country's struggles to deal with the horrific violence surrounding the multi-billion-dollar narcotics trade.
There were 2,186 homicides in May, said a report from the National Public Safety System – the highest figure since the country began keeping track 20 years ago.
The deadliest state was Guerrero, in the south, a hotspot in Mexico's war on drugs where 216 people were killed.
In the western state of Sinaloa – where rival factions have been battling for control of the Sinaloa drug cartel since its kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was extradited to the United States in January – 154 people were killed, the highest number in six years.
Since Mexico first sent the military to fight drug trafficking in 2006, a wave of bloodshed has left more than 200,000 people dead or missing, as rival cartels wage war on each other and the army.
Depressing, indeed. By the way, the resort of Acapulco is in the aforementioned state of Guerrero.
It's interesting to see how Mexico has dropped from the news radar in recent weeks. It has been replaced by North Korea, Syria, Russia, and our own fanatical and ridiculous obsession with the Trump-Russia collusion. Yet I submit that Mexico is undergoing a critical time, and we need to sit down and find ways of helping each other.
What can we do? There aren't many options, but we can start by expanding The Merida Initiative (aka Plan Mexico) that President Bush approved in 2007. It provided the Mexican armed forces with up-to-date technology to fight the cartels. The bad news is that the cartels have the best of weapons. The good news is that the Mexican Army is willing to fight them, as they've been doing since late 2006.
We must also take Central America into consideration. El Salvador is a killing field at the moment, and people are leaving to make it to the U.S.
We should discuss how our drug consumption is killing our young people and funding these cartels.
It's complicated and very depressing, what's going on south of the border. I was fortunate to live and work in Mexico years ago. Mexico had problems then, but nothing like what we see every day on the front pages of newspapers. The daily killings are tearing up the country.