MEXICO CITY, Mexico — The raging cartel violence spreading throughout the country has marked 2017 as the bloodiest year since 1997 when the government began documenting such murders. The official figures, however, pale in comparison to reality since they do not account for the number of victims “disappeared” by cartel gunmen–including those who were incinerated or buried in clandestine graves.
The new statistics released by Mexico’s National Public Security System (SESNSP) revealed that for the year, the country suffered a total of 26,573 murders; 1,275 kidnappings; and 5,357 extortion cases. The 2017 murder total surpassed all previously recorded years since initial recording in 1997.
The record-breaking figures come at the end of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Administration, who won his 2012 bid on the promise of reducing cartel violence. Soon after his election, Peña Nieto pushed for the creation of a new federal police force and modernizing Mexico’s judicial system. The administration was plagued by public corruption scandals and the discovery of Peña Nieto’s taking cartel funds during the election. The press freedom group Article 19 recently released a report about the billions in public funding that EPN used to control news outlets.
The escalating violence in 2017 will likely weigh heavily against EPN’s political allies in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) as tourist hotspots and areas once untouched by cartel violence are now seeing gory executions and gun battles.
While alarming, the statistics compiled by the SESNSP only take into account the crimes recorded by attorney general offices in Mexico’s 32 states. The figures do not include the victims found in cartel killing fields and mass incineration operations like found in Coahuila. As Breitbart Texas reported, activists discovered thousands of human bone fragments in one of the killing fields.
One of the issues in recording kidnapping and extortion cases is the general distrust among residents for state and local law enforcement. In Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Michoacan, and Guerrero, state officials have a history of being infiltrated by the same cartels they are expected to fight. Despite modest improvements against corruption, the public’s trust is still lacking.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.