Mexico’s murder rate hits 20-year high

World Today

In Mexico, more than 2000 people were murdered in May.  That’s the highest rate in 20-years.

Mexican officials said the legalization of marijuana in parts of the U.S. is helping fuel the violence.  Declining drug profits have intensified the turf wars between drug cartels.

CGTN’s Denny Alfonso reports.

The state of Veracruz has seen its share of violence but what happened last weekend is being described as “barbarism.” At least 11 people, including four children and three police officers, were killed by criminal gangs.

“The facts speak for themselves,” said Jesus, a relative of the victims.  “You already saw how the family is devastated, because it was not one, but six. Including in those six, four innocent, who have nothing to do with anything.”

The governor of Veracruz blamed organized crime for the violence. The deaths bring the number of killings during the first half of the year to about 10,000 the month of May being the bloodiest, so far, with nearly 2200 murders reported, breaking a record set in 1997, according to government data.

Security analysts said much of the violence is a result of various factors including the failure of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s public safety policies, the legalization of marijuana in some U..S states and the battle among drug cartels.

“The heroin epidemic in the U.S. has been driving an increase in violence in poppy production areas,” security analyst Alejandro Hope said.

According to government statistics, the Mexican states with the worst homicide totals last month were Guerrero with 216 people killed, the state of Mexico with 195, Baja California with 185 and Sinaloa with 154.

Ever since drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was extradited to the U.S. in January, there’s been an intense battle for the control of the drug cartel

Security officials also point to the proliferation of weapons used in criminal activity, which has contributed to a roughly 30 percent increase in murders in 2017 over the same period last year.

“We believe the increase in the homicide rate is directly involved with the gun control issue,” said National Security Commissioner Renato Salas.  “Seven out of ten homicides in the country are committed with firearms.”