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Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016 surpassing Iraq and Afghanistan

May 10, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016 surpassing Iraq and Afghanistan

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Mexico was the second most violent country across the globe in 2016, but that surprising statistic never made international headlines.

As conflicts in the Middle East dominated the press agenda, Mexico’s drug wars took 23,000 lives in 2016 — next to Syria, where 50,000 people were killed as a result of the war.

“This is surprising, considering that the conflict deaths [in Mexico] are nearly all attributable to small arms,” John Chipman, the chief executive, and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), told CNN.

The IISS published its yearly survey of armed conflict on Tuesday.

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives in 2016, although in lethality were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received less attention,” Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the survey, stated.

According to IISS, there were 17,000 conflict-related deaths south of the border in 2015 and 15,000 in 2014.

Voronkova indicated that the number of murders increased in 22 of Mexico’s 32 states in 2016 and the battles between cartels increased the violence.

“The largest rise in fatalities were in states that were battlegrounds for control between competing and fragmented cartels,” Voronkova added. “The violence grew worse as cartels expanded the reach of their campaigns, seeking to ‘cleanse’ areas of rivals to secure a monopoly on drug-trafficking routes and other assets.”

Drug organizations profit between $19 billion and $29 billion ever year from drug sales in the U.S.

Rivalries between the groups cause havoc on the lives of citizens who have nothing to do with the drug trade. Bystanders, people who declined to join cartels, migrants, reporters, and even government officials have all been murdered.

Damaso Lopez Nunez

Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and his successor Damaso Lopez Nunez

Jacob Parakilas, the assistant head of the U.S. and the American Programme at the London-based Chatham House, said the lack of attention paid to Mexico in the media is because “it’s not a war in the political sense.”

“The participants don’t have a political objective. They’re not trying to create a breakaway state. It doesn’t come with the same visuals. There are no air strikes. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. They are targeted in Mexico, which puts a dampener on the ability to report on it.”

In recent months, however, there have been significant captures related to the Mexican drug trade.

Damaso Lopez Nunez, a high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was apprehended on May 2nd in Mexico City and is facing extradition to the U.S.

Lopez Nunez’ arrest occurred after the extradition of his predecessor Joaquin ‘El Chapo’  El Chapo’s   to the United States in January.

El Chapo is awaiting trial in New York on a 17 count indictment accusing him of heading a transnational criminal enterprise responsible for importing and dealing massive amounts of drugs and conspiring to kill rivals.

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