Mexico. Criminal violence in Mexico only worsened during
the year, especially in cities along the US border.
Mexico has a population of 126.2 million (2018). The
worst affected were the states of Chihuahua and Nuevo León.
In Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, which is already ranked as
the most dangerous city in all of America, an average of
more than 10 murders per day was recorded in October. More
than 28,000 people have been murdered in the country since
2006, most in settlements between criminal gangs, and
several politicians and journalists have been threatened or
killed. The development has been embarrassing for President
Félipe Calderón, who largely won the 2006 presidential
election precisely on his promises of tougher tackles on the
drug leagues in the country. According to the Reforma
newspaper in Mexico City, this has only led to an escalation
of the violence and that three times as many people as in
2006 had been murdered during the first nine months of the
Concerns about the development were so great
internationally that the Secretary-General of the United
States Cooperative Organization, OAS, José Miguel Insulza,
stated on Mexican murder statistics that organized crime was
a threat to democracy throughout the region. Skepticism
about President Calderón's ability to deal with the growing
problem was also markedly great in the United States.
Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton warned in early September
that the drug leagues in Mexico were comparable to an
insurgency movement and that the situation was similar to
that of civil war-torn Colombia twenty years ago. At about
the same time, the authorities recorded their greatest
success in the fight against crime when gang leaders Edgar
Valdés Villarreal ("La Barbie") and Sérgio Enrique
Villarreal Barragán ("El Grande") were arrested.
A contributing factor to the growth of the drug gang is
considered to be the corrupt police force. Former members of
the government's special forces have even formed their own
criminal group, Los Zetas. In August, 10 percent of federal
police members were fired in an attempt to curb that trend.
On July 4, governor elections were held in 12 of Mexico's
32 states. No party could be named a clear winner in the
elections, but the old power party PRI (Partido
Revolucionario Institucional), which dominated politics in
Mexico during most of the 20th century, could definitely be
said to have weakened. The party won in three less important
states (Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala and Zacatecas) but at the
same time lost power in the three populous Oaxaca, Puebla
In February 2004, federal authorities arrested Miguel
Nazar Haro, former chief of the federal security forces. He
was accused in 1975 of participating in the disappearance of
Jesús Piedra Ibarra - an alleged member of a guerrilla
organization. It was the first arrest ordered by the Special
Prosecutor, whom Fox had set up in November 2001 to
investigate and prosecute the human rights violations that
had occurred under the previous governments.
In April, Fax presented a draft amendment to the
Constitution that, for the first time in the country's
history, would guarantee human rights guarantees in its
constitution. This was the case, among other things. to give
federal courts the right to interfere in state court cases
that had a human rights angle; the abolition of the death
penalty (which has not been applied since 1961) and which,
moreover, can only be imposed by military courts. The
proposals will give federal authorities greater opportunity
to interfere in cases such as the killing of hundreds of
women in Ciudad Juárez. National Human Rights Commission
(CNDH) chairman José Luis Soberanes confirmed that Fox's
initiative was "a real step forward for the country".
However, several human rights organizations refrained from
attending the official signing of the constitutional
amendment as they had not been consulted about the changes
to the final version. The amendments must be approved by
both chambers of Congress, and must then be approved by the
parliaments of at least 2/3 of the Mexican states.
In July, Judge José César Flores Rodríguez rejected a
request by a special prosecutor to arrest Ex-President Luis
Echeverría (PRI) for his involvement in the Tlatelolco
massacre in 1968. Special Prosecutor for Historical Social
and Political Movements del Pasado, FEMOSPP), Ignacio
Carrillo had handed over to the courts the results of two
years of investigation into the illegal repression of social
movements in 1960-70, demanding a dozen people arrested,
charged with "genocide". Despite the court's rejection of
the cases, Carrillo stated he would appeal the ruling.
The Special Prosecutor who investigated homicides and
disappearances during the "dirty war" in Mexico declared in
January 2005 that he would file charges against 25 former
government and military officials in the 1968 massacre at
Tlatelolco Square in Mexico City.
Mexico City Mayor of 1994-97, Oscar Espinosa Villarreal
was sentenced in June 2005 to 7˝ years in prison for fraud
to several million. US $. He was thus one of the most senior
officials to date convicted of his criminal acts. Villarreal
was also the first mayor to be prosecuted for corruption
during the 70-year reign of the PRI. He was also Minister of
Tourism under Zedillo's government. However, a post he had
to resign from after 3 years due to charges of corruption.
In October 2005, Hurricane Stan hit the southern part of
the country, killing 42 people.
At least 7 people were killed in May 2006 in a series of
violent clashes between farmers and police. The reason was a
series of land expropriations in the village of San Salvador
Atenco, 24 km east of the capital. EZLN's sub-commander
Marcos put his movement into alarm mode due to the clashes
and arrest of several of the movement's members during
these. Marcos was touring the country - the so-called
"second campaign" - up for the July elections.