Editor's note: Molly Molloy, border and Latin American specialist at the New Mexico State University Library, has made it her mission to document the number of people killed in Mexico's wave of violence. Using official government reports as well as press accounts, Molloy created a detailed record of the violence in Ciudad Juárez since 2008 and makes her data available to reporters and other researchers; she also distributes daily "news and analysis" through the Frontera-List that is read by subscribers ranging from international human-rights groups to U.S. congressional staffers. Molloy and author Charles Bowden first teamed up when Molloy did research for his 2010 book Murder City, which covered homicides in Juárez. They also co-edited El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin, published in 2011.


In Mexico, you get to be a criminal as soon as the Mexican government kills you. Until that moment, most people who knew you had no idea you were a bad person. I will explain. This will take a little patience, but when you get through the numbers, you will be an expert on how to lie about murders.

Justin Renteria

Most U.S. and international press accounts of homicides in Mexico during President Felipe Calderón's term (December 2006 through November 2012) rely on two official tallies. The first was posted in January 2011 on the president's website; it covered December 2006 through December 2010 and totaled 34,612. A literal translation of the description of the victims tallied here is: "deaths due to presumed criminal rivalries."

Another report appeared in January 2012, this time from the attorney general of Mexico. It covered December 2006 through September 2011 and tallied 47,515 homicides. The murders in these reports are designated as "drug-war-related" or "organized crime-related" based on superficial observations of crime scenes such as the kinds of weapons used, the number of people reported to be involved in the attacks, whether the body is mutilated in some way, whether there are signs or symbols left on or near the bodies, and a variety of other criteria deemed to indicate some relationship to the drug business. These official reports echo in the media as real numbers, even though the Mexican government admits that fewer than 5 percent of the crimes are ever investigated.

I have tried to gather more complete homicide data from Mexican government agencies that have reported consistently over the years and with a bit more distance from the political necessities of the Calderón administration, though there are inconsistencies in all of the data available.

The Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography compiles homicide data from death certificates; homicides may be homicidios dolosos, comparable to aggravated or intentional homicides in the United States, or other lesser classifications such as negligent or accidental homicides. INEGI data covering 2005 through 2010 includes all homicides and shows sharp increases, from a low number of 8,867 in 2007 to a high figure of 24,373 in 2010.

Since 2010, I have used the data reported by the National System for Public Security, which compiles crime statistics sent in by local and state police agencies. SNSP reported a total of 22,223 aggravated homicides (homicidios dolosos) in 2011. The latest SNSP data shows 8,662 homicides from January through May 2012, an average of 1,732 per month, thus leading to an estimate of 10,394 homicides in Mexico for the first half of 2012. Extrapolated through the end of 2012 at the same monthly rate, we can estimate total homicides for 2012 at 20,788.

Despite this slight decline from 2010 and 2011 numbers, using the estimate based on the first six months of 2012 and the actual reported numbers from Mexican government sources for 2007 through 2011, we can estimate the total homicides from December 2006 through June 2012 at 99,667. Assuming that a similar rate of murder continues through the remaining months of this year, the homicide toll at the end of Calderón's presidency will add up to 110,061 victims.

For the sake of comparison, the U.S. homicide numbers as reported by the FBI Uniform Crime Reports have declined from about 17,000 in 2007 to an estimated 14,000 in 2011 and 2012. An estimate of the total homicides in the U.S. for this period comes to about 92,000 — this out of a population of more than 312 million, about three times the population of Mexico.

Despite Mexican government statistics adding up to more than 110,000 murders during Calderón's term, the international press continues to report estimates of the death toll in Mexico ranging from 50,000 to "more than 60,000."

This feat puts magical realism in the shade.

The press also parrots the Mexican government's claim that 90 percent of the victims are criminals killed by other criminals. From my daily reading of crime reports from Juárez — the city still at the epicenter of the violence — it is evident that the majority of the 10,800-plus murder victims there since 2007 are ordinary people, and most of them are poor: small-business owners who cannot pay extortion demands, mechanics, bus drivers, prostitutes, addicts, boys selling newspapers, a pregnant woman washing cars on the street. This city of only 1.2 million accounts for 10 percent of all of Mexico's murder victims since 2007.

And the truth is, we may never know the actual number of people killed. Mexican agencies like INEGI and SNSP must rely upon local entities to report homicide numbers, and there is little reason to trust the state and local police and justice officials responsible for such reports. There also is the number that will never be known: the cifra negra — the black numbers — a term used for the missing, the kidnapped who never return and whose bodies are never found, and those who simply disappear. 

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21 comments
coper1658
coper1658

what happened to the other 50 or so comments?

tomphrey1
tomphrey1

This propaganda piece is still here?  Come on, put up something else for us to boo hoo about.

tomphrey1
tomphrey1

Why should I care how many Mexicans are being killed by Mexicans?  Boo hoo.  I think I see through your scrungy theory.  Take it and insert it into the nearest convenient orifice.

tomphrey1
tomphrey1

The Mexicans can't control their own country?  Why should I care?  I'm sick and tired of boo hoo stories about other countries.  I have enough worries about things in this country.

burowbasher
burowbasher

Some sobering facts:

There have been some 350 women killed/missing along the border - mostly around Cuidad Juarez...over the last 15 years.

 

America's total loss in Veitnam was 58,000 (just using round numbers here) and 7,000 of those were non-combat, accident related deaths.

 

2,500 is the number of assault rifles Eric Holder, Dennis Burke and those ATF clowns traficked to Mexico as some kind of sick social study program...

 

The number of clowns working for the US federal government?  Wow!  No way to calculate but I would say 30% is a good round number.

shobson21
shobson21

Actually, Mexico's death toll is not high enough.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

PLEASE COPY & SHARE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: 

 

The CIA's role in the international drug trade, dating back to 1949, is not a theory but a well-documented "fact." The sources include former CIA and DEA agents.

 

"CIA are drug smugglers." - Federal Judge Bonner, while head of the DEA

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5_UbAmRGSYw

 

In 1989, 'The Kerry Committee' found that the United States Department of State had made payments to drug traffickers, concluding that members of the U.S. State Department themselves were involved in drug trafficking. Some of the payments were made even after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies, or even while these traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Committee_report

 

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY:

 

* Shortly after World War II, The OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) formed a strategic alliance with the Sicilian and Corsican mafia. 

 

* During the 1950s, In order to provide covert funds for forces loyal to General Chiang Kai-Shek who were fighting the Chinese communists under Mao Zedong, the CIA helped the Kuomintang (KMT) smuggle opium from China and Burma to Thailand, by providing airplanes owned by one of their front businesses, Air America.

 

* During the long years of the cold war, the CIA mounted major covert guerilla operations along the Soviet-Chinese border. In 1950, for their operation against communist China in northeastern Burma, and from 1965 to 1975 [during the Vietnam war], for their operation in northern Laos, the CIA recruited (as allies) people we now call drug lords. 

 

* Throughout the 1980s, in Afghanistan, the CIA's supported the Mujahedin rebels (in their efforts against the pro-Soviet government) by facilitating their opium smuggling operations. - A small local trade in opium was turned into a major source of supply for the world markets including the United States. This lead ultimately to Afghanistan becoming the largest supplier of illicit opium on the planet, a status only briefly interrupted when it was under Taliban control.  

 

* Also during the 1980s, the Reagan Administration funded a guerrilla force known as the Nicaraguan Contras (even after such funding was outlawed by Congress) by cocaine smuggling operations. - An August 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News (by Pulitzer Prize-winner Gary Webb) clearly linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the CIA and the Contras.

 

Follow this link to an electronic briefing book compiled from declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archive. It includes the notebooks kept by NSC aide and Iran-contra figure Oliver North, electronic mail messages written by high-ranking Reagan administration officials, memos detailing the contra war effort and FBI and DEA reports. The documents demonstrate official knowledge of drug operations and collaboration with, and protection of, known drug traffickers. Court and hearing transcripts are also included.

 

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm

 

* In November 1996, a Miami grand jury indicted former Venezuelan anti-narcotics chief and longtime CIA asset, General Ramon Guillen Davila, who was smuggling many tons of cocaine into the United States from a CIA owned Venezuelan warehouse. In his trial defense, Guillen claimed that all of his drug smuggling operations were approved by the CIA.

 

* The Dirección Federal de Seguridad was a Mexican intelligence agency created in 1947, and was in part a CIA creation. DFS badges were handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers and were a virtual license to traffic.' "The Guadalajara Cartel" (Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s) prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nazar Haro, a CIA asset.

 

 

For far more detailed information kindly google any of the following: 

 

"The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic" by former DEA agent Michael Levine

"Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb

"Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press" by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair

"The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade" by Alfred W. McCoy

"The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Governments Embrace" by James Mills

"Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA" by Terry Reed, (a former Air Force Intelligence operative) and John Cummings (a former prize-winning investigative reporter at N.Y Newsday). 

 

CalifMan
CalifMan

Fell sorry for those people, but what am I to do.  

CalifMan
CalifMan

Fell sorry for those people, but what am I to do, send them money?    The best thing that we could do for them is start a war with them.

jesse5545
jesse5545

How many of those deaths were due to AG Holter screw ups.??? Just asking and yes if all the illegals would just go home AZ and the world would be a better place. JUst as if the White African would go back to Africa. Till then let Sheriff Joe put them in pink panties. I,m sure old Bend Over Barry would like that.

MesaMan
MesaMan

Let the killings STAY in Mexico. It would go very badly against that nation if they export that crime here and start targeting Americans. 

blessed_r_illegals
blessed_r_illegals

Mexico is right we are the cause of all the problems there. We should be taxed extra to help them. We Democrats should encourage a special tax to give directly to Mexico!

MesaMan
MesaMan

 @malcolmkyle16 And? Did the evil 'Honky' hold a gun to those po' ol' innocent fools forcing them to buy and use Crack? If one believes that crap; then that's a scathing indictment of especially Black people. 

MesaMan
MesaMan

 @blessed_r_illegals Taxed for what? If anything: Mexican needs to be forced to take back it's citizens here illegally in the USA.

robert_graham
robert_graham

 @blessed_r_illegals This time the Phoenix New Times has really gone too far by implying that America is the cause for Mexico's problems!  If it weren't for Mexico, things would be much better in the USA!  America is not responsible for drug-related killings, Mexico is.  I am so sick and tired of this kind of reporting that is now one of my highest priorities to silence the Phoenix New Times and any cost.  They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

@MesaMan

Everytime the ghastly violence of prohibition is falsely blamed on the users, it diminishes the culpability of those who are truly responsible for maintaining the status quo. Prohibition is an absolute scourge -the end!  The use of drugs is NOT the real problem, the system that grants exclusive distribution rights to violent cartels and terrorists IS.

 

When governments prohibit drugs they effectively and knowingly hand a monopoly on their sale to dangerous criminals and terrorists. Without a legal framework in which to operate, these black-market entities can always be expected to settle their disputes violently, while terrorizing many peaceful and innocent citizens in the process. Were the users of alcohol to blame for the St Valentines massacre in 1929? Of course not! It is just as naive to assume that one can compel all the users of Marijuana or Cocaine to simply quit, as it is to assume that all the users of Alcohol should have stopped drinking after the introduction of alcohol prohibition in 1919. 

 

Nobody can be expected to obey bad laws, like ones that infringe on logic as well as the fundamental right to decide on what medicine or poison an individual adult may, or may not, ingest. The violence and the deaths ultimately arising from such bad public policy should always rest squarely on the shoulders of those ignorant imbeciles who are responsible for implementing and supporting such foolishness.

 

Maybe I'm wasting my time here; maybe you're the type of moral crusader who also thinks he has the right to ban private sexual conduct between consenting adults? Is that the reason you're vilifying drug users when you should be demanding that the government stops wasting your/our taxes on this failed and dangerous moronothon? 

 

The situation everywhere will continue to deteriorate while Prohibitionists like yourself will continue to attempt to blame its negative ramifications on the users, rather than on the fundamental paradox of handing an entire sector of the economy to organized crime. By falsely denouncing drug users - or attacking those of us who advocate for a more sane way of dealing with this problem - you are serving to greatly perpetuate prohibitions deadly consequences rather than alleviating them in any way.

 

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

@shobson21

Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high—no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future.  

 

Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our once so "proud & free" nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies?  

 

Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard, or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime pay, the many kickbacks, and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid, and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? 

 

Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem. 

 

Prohibition prevents regulation: legalize, regulate, and tax!

 

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

@MesaMan

The U.S. comprises 5 percent of the world's population yet uses 60 percent of the world's drugs. The prohibition on these drugs has been waged for 70 years and has cost $1.5 trillion.

 

Prohibition has cruelly ruined the lives of millions of peaceful and productive citizens while bankrolling the most evil people on the planet. Prohibition has stagnated the normal economy while allowing criminal enterprises to control an untaxed thriving underground economy worth over 300,000 million dollars. By it's emphasis on the eradication of marijuana/hemp we have also been denied the most workable and logical solutions to a number of growing problems, be they medicinal, industrial, chemical, or commercial.

 

According to the CATO Institute, ending prohibition would save an annual $41 billion of expenditure while generating an estimated $46 billion in tax revenues. 

 

http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/DrugProhibitionWP.pdf

 

Thanks to Prohibition, we now have a far higher percentage of our own citizens locked in cages than any other nation on the whole planet. Apart from the fact that these extra prisoners are not contributing economically to society, it also costs 50,000 dollars per annum to incarcerate them. Additionally, their families often go on government assistance, and it's again the average tax payer who has to pick up the bill. Their kids may be taken into care or raised by foster parents, again with tax payer money. Now add to all this the court costs, jail costs, and the salaries of all those people that have to deal with the enforcement of prohibition, like police officers, judges and public defenders, and you'll start to get a fair idea of why "Black Thursday" (October 24, 1929) happened during the period of another of our great experiments: Alcohol Prohibition (1919-1933).

 

* The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. 

 

* 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population at year-end 2009.

 

* 2,292,133 adults were incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2009—pproximately 1% of US adults.

 

* Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or parole.

 

* In 2009, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation,parole, or incarcerated)—Approximately 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.

 

Chart Of The Day: Federal Drug Prisoners

http://tinyurl.com/csfvb9n

 

Prohibition has finally run its course; our prisons are full, our economy is in ruins, the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans have been destroyed or severely disrupted, and what was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity has become a toxic, repressive, smoldering heap of hypocrisy and a gross affront to fundamental human decency. 

 

During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich criminals and corrupt politicians. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education, etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

 

Prohibition causes massive crime and suffering, causes government/police corruption, causes America to have the highest prison population of any country in the history of the planet, causes Americans to lose all their rights and all their true core-values, causes the waste of trillions in taxpayer dollars, causes wars, violence and death (at home and abroad),  perpetuates racism, causes America to be hated by other countries, and funds both criminals and terrorists.

 

For God's sake wake up! The prisons are bursting, the police are corrupt, most of us are not even safe in our own homes anymore, while the whole country/planet is on the verge of a total social and financial collapse. 

 

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

@arpaiofan

Prohibitionists like yourself dance hand in hand with every possible type of criminal one can imagine.

 

An unholy alliance of ignorance, greed and hate which works to destroy all our hard fought freedoms, wealth and security.

 

We will always have adults who are too immature to responsibly deal with tobacco alcohol, heroin amphetamines, cocaine, various prescription drugs and even food. Our answer to them should always be: "Get a Nanny, and stop turning the government into one for the rest of us!"

 

Many of us who wish to see an end to prohibition, but not because we wish to use drugs - they are already available 24/7. We wish to see proper legalized regulation because we are witnessing on a daily basis the futility of this dangerous policy. 'Legalized Regulation' won't be the complete answer to all our drug problems, but it'll greatly ameliorate the crime and violence we are seeing on our streets.

 

The whole nonsense of 'a disaster will happen if we end prohibition' sentiment sums up the delusional 'chicken little' stance of those like yourself who foolishly insist on continuing down this blind alley. - As if a disaster isn’t already happening. As if prohibition has ever remotely worked?

 

Your support for prohibition is such a strange mind-set. In fact, It's outrageous insanity!  -- Literally not one prohibitionist argument survives scrutiny. NOT ONE!!!

 

The only people that believe prohibition is working are the ones making a living by enforcing laws in it's name, or those amassing huge fortunes on the black market profits. This situation is wholly unsustainable, and as history has shown us, conditions will continue to deteriorate until we all finally (just like our forefathers) see sense and revert back to tried and tested methods of regulation. - None of these substances, legal or illegal, are ever going to go away, but we CAN decide to implement policies that do far more good than harm.

 

During alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on treatment. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

 

So should the safety and freedom of the rest of us be compromised because of the few who cannot control themselves?

 

Many of us no longer think it should!

 

 
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