As the total number of conflict fatalities decreased around the world in 2016, the number of intentional homicides exploded in Mexico.
With 23,000 homicides in 2016, Mexico ranked as the second deadliest country in the world, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) revealed in their Armed Conflict Survey.
The report, published on Tuesday, highlighted the effect that drug cartels are having in Latin America. Leading the way are Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador:
This assessment of violence in the region is based on more than numbers, although the 39,000 people killed in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in 2016 indicate a security crisis much more complex and serious than most other countries in the region. Mexico’s 2016 intentional homicide total, 23,000, is second only to Syria.
In all four countries, armed forces have been deployed for many years specifically to fight criminal gangs and, in the case of Mexico, transnational drug-trafficking cartels, with military-grade weapons and vast financial resources. In all four countries, criminal groups have ambitious territorial claims: they fight amongst themselves and use arms to challenge the state directly for local control. Unlike traditional political conflicts, these criminal conflicts are fought to establish autonomous territories, not to pursue national politico-ideological goals.
2016 marked the second consecutive year that the number of conflict fatalities decreased…