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Fueled by War on Drugs, Mexican Death Toll Could Exceed 120,000 As Calderon Ends Six-Year Reign

Published: November 29, 2012
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By Mark Karlin, Truthout

In the first part of this year, Truthout posted a series of ten articles that dispelled the myths surrounding the failed US/Mexico war on drugs. As a follow-up, this article details newly released statistics that indicate the predicted death toll from the alleged war-turned-bloodbath will likely far exceed past estimates.

In late August, the internationally respected French newspaper Le Monde posted an editorial denouncing the war on drugs in Mexico: "The Spiral of Barbarity." The most important and ominous figure cited by Le Monde is that perhaps 120,000 (or more) Mexican citizens will have been intentionally killed during the presidency of Felipe Calderón:

Within Le Monde, two years ago, Mexican President Felipe Calderon welcomed the results of the large-scale war committed since the beginning of his term in December 2006, against organized crime and drug traffickers. "We will defeat crime," he asserted. He addressed the concerns of those who denounced the increased violence in the country: "If you see dust, it is because we clean the house."

Limited to one term of six years, Calderon will hand Enrique Peña Nieto the presidency at the end of the year (December 1), leaving him with a damning balance sheet of death. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico has released startling figures: 27,199 homicides were recorded in 2011; between 2007 and 2011, the total came to 95,632 murders. On the basis of the trend in recent months, an estimated 120,000 homicides will have occurred during the term of Calderon. This is more than double the figure often mentioned - already staggering - of 50,000.

This carnage is by far the deadliest conflict in the world in recent years. The official homicide statistics are an implacable revelation that gangrene has overtaken the nation. But beyond the number of deaths allegedly related strictly to the fight against drugs there has developed a number of industries engaging in kidnapping, extortion, prostitution, trafficking of persons and bodies - and widespread disappearances. The map of the homicides in Mexico shows that homicides are no longer only confined to the regions of strong presence of gangs, but tend to spread over most of the territory. (Translated from the French)

Although the now estimated 120,000 to 130,000 intentional homicides in Mexico - called "homicidios dolosos" - outraged Le Monde, few other prominent news organizations in the United States or Mexico took notice. Mexico's La Reforma was an exception, when in August it estimated 95,000 homicides, based on newly released government statistics. A few other US and Mexican publications have mentioned the new figures in passing, but without recognizing the implications.


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