The interior ministry details last year’s per capita homicide rate at 20.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, up more than one point from 19.4 in 2011.
Last week, President Trump tweeted that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. He cited the “massive inflow of drugs” and alluded to the out of control cartel violence across the nation, as a great sales pitch to the American people of why his proposed Mexico–United States border wall needs funding.
Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department warned U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees to exercise increased caution while traveling in Mexico, and even restricted some regions from access because of “violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.”
While the U.S. State Department discouraged all travel to 31 Mexican states, the new travel warning elevated five states to a level-4 status, otherwise known as a war-zone like some countries in the Middle East.
The U.S. State Department defines Level-4 as :
Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level-4 states in Mexico:
- Colima state due to crime.
- Guerrero state due to crime.
- Michoacán state due to crime.
- Sinaloa state due to crime.
- Tamaulipas state due to crime.
A majority of the level-4 states reside in the western region of Mexico, where violence between drug cartels is out of control.
CNN describes that outside the world’s war zones of the Middle East, Mexico is by far the most dangerous place for journalists.
Last year six journalists were killed in Mexico, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a US nonprofit. That was the highest number since at least 1992. Since that year more than 40 journalists have been killed in the country.
Despite 16% of the Mexican states classified as a war-zone or “shithole” by the U.S. State Department, there is even more death and destruction in South American countries. El Salvador reported a homicide rate of 60.8 per 100,000 inhabitants last year, which is three times the rate of Mexico. Brazil and Colombia recorded more violent rates than Mexico in 2017, with both countries averaging around 27 per 10,000 inhabitants. The rates for several U.S. cities, including St Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Detroit, were also higher than the overall rate for Mexico, AP said.
Nevertheless, the homicide rates were wildly disturbing in level-4 states in Mexico. Take, for instance, the small Pacific coast state of Colima had 93.6 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants last year, while a non-level-4 region of Baja California Sur logged in 69.1 per 100,000 inhabitants last year.
Here is what CNN had to say about the Mexican “shithole”-
In Guerrero — the state where Acapulco is located — murders rose to 2,316 last year, about the same as 2016, but up from 1,514 in 2014. In Sinaloa, the former turf of notorious, imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, homicides in 2017 soared 39% over last year to 1,332.
In Baja California Sur, an area filled with popular tourist destinations such as Cabo San Lucas, the number of murders nearly tripled last year to 560. Security and crime look set to be among the top issues in Mexico’s presidential campaign season, which officially begins in March. The election is July 1. President Enrique Peña Nieto can’t run again due to term limits. He and his political party have been heavily criticized for their inability to tame drug-related crime.
His administration has also called on the United States to help more, arguing that Americans’ demand for drugs is partly fueling.
Mexico is preparing for the general elections in July. Voters will elect a new president, 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies, and 128 Senate members. The current Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto had pledged to end drug cartels violence throughout the country in 2012, but that turned out to be a wishful campaign promise as homicides in 2017 surged to record levels. The left-wing and former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is the current frontrunner, as cartel violence and drugs will be a pivot topic during the election.