Mexico. Criminal violence in Mexico only worsened during the year, especially in cities along the US border. According to COUNTRYAAH, 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 year.
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 and Sinaloa.
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 7½ 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.