Cartels and the related killings in Mexico! on the Rise?

More dead!

More Killings more graves!

Drug-related violence in Mexico has spiked in recent years as drug trafficking organisations have competed for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

Mexico has for at least four decades been among the most important producers and suppliers of heroin and marijuana to the US market.

Drug-related killings 2007-2011
2010: 19,546
2009: 11,753
2008: 6,837
2007: 2,826

The figures include the killings of gang members, police and troops, as well as innocent bystanders

A history of civil strife and instability, weak institutions, and staggering impunity make the region extremely vulnerable.

The northern triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in particular, already among the most violent nations in the world, have seen a marked rise in the operations of Mexican gangs and their affiliates.

In Guatemala, with a murder rate at least double that of Mexico’s, between 250 and 350 tonnes of cocaine are reported to pass through every year.

Almost five years since the government’s crackdown on drug gangs began the drug trafficking organisation’s have responded with escalating violence.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon has deployed 80,000 troops to the streets to take on powerful drug traffickers shortly after taking office in December 2006.

In recent years, drug trafficking violence in Mexico has claimed thousands of lives and reached a level of intensity and ferocity that has exceeded previous periods of drug-related violence.

More than 35,000 people have been killed since Calderon launched a crackdown against drug gangs. However, human rights groups believe the actual number could be as high as 50,490.

At stake for the traffickers is an industry worth up to $39 billion a year, according to estimates by US officials, which is equivalent to almost 15 per cent of Mexico’s annual budge

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human trafficking through the Americas

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Image via WikipediaModern day slavery routes

The United Nations estimates that human trafficking through the Americas represents a $7 billion per year business for organized criminal groups. They draw this money from the nearly three million people, mostly immigrants from the region moving north to the United States, who relocate every year, paying between $2,000 and $10,000 per trip.

The reasons for these migrations include economic hardship, political persecution, and family ties. These migrants have become vital providers for their families at home. Remittances sent from the United States to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala represent close to ten percent of the GDP of these three countries combined. Organized criminal gangs exploit these vulnerabilities. They extort entire families, sometime several times over several different borders, during one single trip. The gangs also sell their cargo into indentured servitude where they are virtually enslaved until they pay off their “debts.”

The massive trade in humans starts as far south as Argentina and almost always passes through Mexico. The entry points, while often well guarded, rarely change. They include Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros. The migrants are often held in “safe-houses” on the U.S. side while relatives or friends pay off the remaining sums demanded by the traffickers. The vast majority – close to 90 percent – are from Mexico. Most of the rest come from Central America. These Central American migrants pay more money and face more obstacles en route, including criminal gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha 13, drug trafficking groups like the Zetas and corrupt police who kidnap and extort them during their journey. Still, the United Nations estimates that many of the migrant smuggling routes are still controlled by smaller, “mom and pop” operations.

Other migrants include Chinese who are trafficked through Latin America, most notably Colombia and the Darien Gap in Panama, on their way to the United States. Wealthier Asians are known to purchase false passports in places like Guatemala and Venezuela, which allow them to transit into European countries like Spain easier. Migrants are often used as mules to carry drugs and other contraband.

The Zetas in Guatemala!

Map showing how The Juvenal trafficking organi...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Guatemala’s criminal organizations are the most sophisticated and dangerous in Central America. Some of them have been in operation for decades. They include former members of the military, intelligence agencies and active members of the police. Transporting illegal drugs north comprises the bulk of their activity, but organized crime in Guatemala is also involved in marijuana and poppy cultivation, as well as human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, arms smuggling, adoption rings, eco trafficking and other illegal enterprises. They often work with groups from Mexico, Colombia and other Central American nations. And they have the potential to expand and command other Central American nations’ underworlds.

The Most Dangerous Gang in the World

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The Zetas, Mexico’s most feared and violent criminal organization, has moved operations to Guatemala. In the process, they have shifted the balance of power in the region, undermining and overwhelming Guatemala’s government and putting its neighbors in El Salvador and Honduras on high alert. They have also introduced a new way of operating. The Zetas are focused on controlling territory. In this they are the experts, creating a ruthless and intimidating force that is willing to take the fight to a new, often macabre level. Whoever becomes Guatemala’s new president will face this challenge with little resources and government institutions that have a history of working for criminal organizations of all types. In sum, the Zetas are a test for Guatemala and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.