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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Deadly Southern Border Country. Another Reason For The Wall

Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016




In Eagle Pass, Texas, where poverty and dirt roads outnumber jobs and opportunities, Mexico's drug cartels prey on kids --- offering them thousands of dollars to smuggle hundreds of pounds of drugs each week.
No way out: Drug cartels recruit kids for life 03:59




(CNN)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.
    In comparison, there were 17,000 conflict deaths in Mexico in 2015 and
    15,000 in 2014 according to the IISS.

    Rising death toll

    Voronkova said the number of homicides rose in 22 of Mexico's 32 states
     during 2016 and the rivalries between cartels increased in violence.
    "It is noteworthy that the largest rises in fatalities were registered in states
     that were key battlegrounds for control between competing, increasingly
    fragmented cartels," she said.
    "The violence grew worse as the cartels expanded the territorial reach of
     their campaigns, seeking to 'cleanse' areas of rivals in their efforts to
     secure a monopoly on drug-trafficking routes and other criminal assets."
    Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 billion and $29 billion annually
     from US drug sales, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
    Rivalries between the cartels wreak havoc on the lives of civilians who
    have nothing to do with narcotics. Bystanders, people who refused to
     join cartels, migrants, journalists and government officials have all been killed.

    Not on news agenda

    Jacob Parakilas, assistant head of the US and the Americas Programme
    at London-based think tank Chatham House, said part of the reason for
     the relative lack of attention paid to Mexico in the international media is
    "it's not a war in the political sense of the word. The participants largely
    don't have a political objective. They're not trying to create a breakaway
    state. It doesn't come with the same visuals. There are no air strikes.
    "Also this has been going on since the beginning of the modern drug trade
     in the Americas. It's not news in that sense. And Mexico is one of the most
    dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. They are intentionally
    targeted in Mexico, which puts a dampener on the ability to report on this."
    Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is facing trial in New York.
    There have, however, been significant arrests in relation to the Mexican
     drug trade in recent times.
    Damaso Lopez Nunez, a high-ranking leader of Mexico's Sinaloa drug
    cartel, was arrested on May 2 in Mexico City and could face charges in
    the US, authorities said.
    His arrest follows January's extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman,
    who is accused of running the Sinaloa cartel -- one of the world's largest
     drug-trafficking organizations.
    He awaits trial in New York on 17 counts accusing him of running a
    criminal enterprise responsible for importing and distributing massive
    amounts of narcotics and conspiring to murder rivals.

    World conflict deaths fall

    The number of conflict fatalities globally edged down last year, from
     167,000 to 157,000, according to the IISS.
    This was the second successive annual drop -- 180,000 people were
     killed in 2014.
    The number of deaths in Syria fell from 55,000 in 2015. But there were
     1,000 more deaths in Afghanistan last year than 2015 and 4,000 more
    in Iraq.
    Voronkova from the IISS said: "Civilians caught amid conflict arguably
    suffered more than in the preceding years. Between January and
    August, 900,000 people were internally displaced in Syria alone."
    The internal displacement figures were 234,000 for Iraq and 260,000
     for Afghanistan.