Mexico Starts to Recover From Drug War
Decreasing violence and a recovering economy signal offer hope for the drug war-torn country.
The rampant drug war violence in Mexico that led to over 60,000 deaths during Felipe Calderon's presidency has dramatically quieted over the last year, USA Today reports. In a study of homicides, institute researchers found that organized crime-related murder dropped 21% in 2012 and organized crime killings dropped 32% in Mexico's six border states. This marks the first time those numbers have fallen since the drug war escalated in 2007. "We have seen a real change," says Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. And White House "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske said recently: "I think there is a lot of reason for hope." The murder rate in Tijuana has dropped from 41 people per 100,000 in 2008 to 21 last year, while kidnappings have dropped 74% since 2010. In the border city of Juarez, murders fell below 1,000 for the first time since 2007, with 797 in total compared to a high of 3,622 in 2010. The findings come on the heels of proposals from President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators, who want to provide pathway to US citizenship for some of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants in exchange for further border security benchmarks. Mexico's economy is also starting to bounce back: the US exported $200 billion worth of goods to Mexico in 2012 and imported $257 billion. In another promising trend, shops are reportedly reopening in border cities where drug war violence had shut them down, such as Juarez, where an estimated 20,000 businesses were lost between 2008-2011.