The fight against drug traffickers in Mexico and Central America has resulted in thousands of deaths each month. A recent report has found that in the last 60 years since the war began, half-a-million people have died, including 257,000 in the last 11 years:
On the magnitude of the internal war that this country has lived during the last 60 years. In that time, the armed conflict has caused 262 thousand 197 deaths, one every two hours on average. And, as in Mexico, the fuel that fuels this violence is drugs. Only the huge illegal income generated by the production and trafficking of cocaine, marijuana and heroin explains the firepower of criminal groups in Colombia and Mexico.
That is why the wars in both countries have had such high social costs. Since the then President Felipe Calderón decreed the war against drug trafficking in Mexico in December 2006, until last June, that is, in 11 and a half years, there have been 257,555 homicides in the country, one every 25 minutes on average. , according to figures from Inegi and the National Public Security System.
This means that the wars in Colombia and Mexico, the countries that have paid the highest cost – together with the Central Americans – in the global fight against drugs, have left a balance of 519 thousand 753 dead, a number similar to that of the population of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.
The differences between the two nations, of course, are several. To begin with, Colombia’s figures correspond to an internal armed conflict that involves guerrillas, paramilitaries, state agents and some individuals. The figures for Mexico, on the other hand, are related to an organized crime war and the State, essentially.
On the other hand, Mexico has a population 2.6 times greater than that of Colombia.
In addition, data on fatalities in Colombia includes a period of 60 years, between 1958 and July 2018. Those in Mexico cover only 11 and a half years, the six-year term of Calderón and that of Enrique Peña Nieto, who does not could or did not want to change the failed security strategy of his predecessor.
The worst thing is that, despite its high social cost, the war against drug trafficking in Mexico has not only failed in its goal of defeating the drug cartels, but has caused a disaster in terms of citizen security and human rights .
During Calderón’s six-year term (2006-2012), homicides increased by 102% in relation to that of his predecessor, Vicente Fox, and the cartels achieved unprecedented territorial control, which paved the way for the emergence of self-defense groups in Michoacán and Guerrero.
In addition, there were massacres such as the one in 2011 in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, where clandestine graves were found with some 200 bodies of Central American immigrants, and the Casino Royale de Monterrey, which left 53 dead.
And after Calderón lost the war, and that he left a country with 121,613 dead and 24,956 missing -according to the National Registry of Missing and Disappeared Persons (RNPED )-, Peña Nieto achieved what seemed impossible: overcome the balance in victims of his predecessor PAN.
Four months to conclude, Peña Nieto’s six-year term is already the most violent in Mexico’s modern history, with 135,943 homicides until last June, one every twenty minutes on average, according to Inegi and the National System data. of Public Security.
In addition, the RNPED indicates that from the beginning of the PRI government until last April there were 24,466 disappeared in the country, one every two hours on average. Among them are the 43 Ayotzinapa normalists.
In Colombia, the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH), a state agency whose mission is to contribute to the reparation and right to the truth of the victims of the conflict and document the acts of violence, records 80,514 disappeared in 60 years, almost four every day.
In addition, another 37 thousand 93 people were victims of kidnapping, and the actors of the conflict – paramilitaries, guerrillas, agents of the State – committed 15 thousand 687 sexual attacks.
In the same period there were 4,222 massacres that left 24,518 victims.
Of the more than 260,000 deaths that occurred during the armed conflict, 43% are attributed to right-wing paramilitaries, and 16% to the guerrillas.
The task of clarification and historical memory carried out by the CNMH is considered by specialists in conflict resolution as a fundamental element in the perspective of building peace, democratization, reconciliation and the eradication of violence.
Unlike in Mexico, where the war against illegal armed groups has not reached the bottom, judging by the increase in homicides – in Peña Nieto’s six-year term they have grown by 15% compared to Calderón’s – in Colombia there is a decline sustained violence associated with the armed conflict.
For example, selective killings reached their most critical point in Colombia in 2002, when they recorded 16,393. Last year there were less than 100.
And the homicides were also located in 2017 at a historical low. 11 thousand 718 occurred, equivalent to 24 per 100 thousand inhabitants, the lowest rate in the last 42 years.
A factor that explains this fall is the peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas, which resulted in the disarmament of some 12,000 men.
Although some 1,200 ex-combatants have taken up arms to engage in illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, the recidivism that has been seen so far is within the parameters of any peace process in the world.
While the incoming government of President Iván Duque fulfills the commitments acquired by the Colombian State and appeases the most radical sector of his party, the extreme right-wing Democratic Center, which has promised to “tear apart” the agreements with the FARC, the violence in Colombia will continue decreasing.
Another scenario would open if Duque, who will assume the Presidency on Tuesday, 7, promotes in Congress or via referendum modifications that alter the meaning of what was agreed with the FARC, such as preventing ex-commanders of that ex-guerrilla group from doing politics or making them pay with jail, and not with alternative penalties, the serious crimes committed in the framework of the war.
In that case, the dissidence of the FARC could increase and it will be more complex for the State to face a new war whose main fuel would be, again, coca and its transformation into cocaine.
In Mexico, it will be necessary to see if the new security strategy proposed by the virtual president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, manages to break the cycle of violence that began with the war that Calderón declared to drug trafficking. (source)