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Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?

Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?
From Al Jazeera - February 4, 2018

In 2006, Mexico launched a war on drugs with the fervent backing of its ever-helpful neighbour to the north, the United States of America.

Now a bit more than a decade later, some 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed thus far as a result, with an additional 30,000 or more disappeared and a continuous discovery of unmarked mass graves.

Recent reports suggest that 2017 was, in fact, Mexico's most violent year, in terms of homicides, since the Mexican government began publicising crime data in 1997. More than 29,000 murderswere recorded last year alone.

And what do you know: Drugs continue to flow into the US, where the proscription of mind-altering substances that are in sky-high demand is precisely what has rendered the drug business in Mexico so lethally lucrative in the first place.

Perverse symbiosis

Arturo Cano, a journalist with the prominent Mexican newspaper La Jornada, once commented to me on the perverse symbiosis that has long characterised the US-Mexico relationship: "Mexico provides the cheap labour and the US provides the deportees. Mexico provides the dead and disappeared and the US the armies of drug users".

Cano went on to invoke a lament attributed to former Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz, who died in 1915: "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States".

Indeed, thanks to acute geographical misfortune, Mexico has been an easy target for economic abuse by its northern neighbour - entailing magical forms of "free trade" in which the US is permitted to freely bombard the Mexican market with subsidised products while driving several million Mexican farmers out of business.

Unsurprisingly, destroying a whole lot of livelihoods is not the best way to deter people from pursuing options more conducive to financial survival - including, as it turns out, in the field of narco-activity.

Meanwhile, the US handily offsets its considerable contributions to the forging of the Mexican narco-state by donating billions of dollars to the drug war effort.

This arrangement effectively amounts to throwing more money into a landscape of impunity in which notoriously corrupt security forces are implicated in extrajudicial massacres and deadly collaboration with drug cartels.

Not that a country where police regularly kill unarmed black people should be regarded as the standard bearer for ethical behaviour.

Perpetuating war

Amnesty International has noted that, as a result of Mexico's drug war, reports of torture and other ill-treatment by Mexican police and military officials grew by 600 percent between 2003 and 2013.

And according to a 2016 Amnesty International document, Mexican security forces "routinely torture and ill-treat women" who they detain in group arrests in order to"to boost figures and show society that the government's security efforts are yielding results".

Dangers galore

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