HomeNewsBriefIs the Impact of Violence in Mexico Similar to War Zones?
BRIEF

Is the Impact of Violence in Mexico Similar to War Zones?

DISPLACEMENT / 23 OCT 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

The impact that drug-related violence has on citizens in Mexico is similar to what people living through war experience, according to the president of the Red Cross, in a controversial comparison that has been made before. 

In an October 21 interview with El Universal, Peter Maurer said that violence -- whether perpetrated by war or violent crime -- has the same consequences.

"The impact of war on disappearances, the displacement of people and the rupture of communities is the same whether the violence is derived from war, [or] is instigated or is generated by a conflict between the state and organized crime groups," Maurer told El Universal. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Maurer pointed to a recent visit to Mexico's embattled border state of Tamaulipas following a day of intense violence. The impact of the violence could be seen in school closings and the difficulties that community members had with accessing basic social services, he said. 

Mexico and other countries that are being confronted by heavily armed criminal groups are increasingly deploying the military to help increase security in violence-wracked areas, he commented. 

"I am not saying that this is good, bad or irreversible … but if it happens without the necessary instruction, we will see more problems." 

InSight Crime Analysis 

This is not the first time that Mexico has been compared to countries at war. Year after year violence in Mexico is contrasted with that of war-torn countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. In 2016, Mexico was labeled the second-deadliest country in the world behind only Syria, a claim Mexican officials vehemently rebuked.

Many experts have stressed that equating Mexico's drug-related violence to that of an armed conflict or civil war is an "uneven comparison." That may well be true, but Maurer makes a good point when he talks of the consequences -- rather than nature -- of the violence and the way it impacts people's quality of life and access to basic services such as health, education and justice.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Displacement

Violence in Mexico over the last decade has forced hundreds of schools to close, and driven more and more people from their homes. Nearly a third of municipalities in Mexico have fewer inhabitants than they did a decade ago. Corruption and inefficiency are major barriers to justice, and victims of violence often have to live with the consequences, with little or no help from Mexico's institutions. The poor response to the violence from the state only increases the distrust and lack of confidence of Mexicans in their justice system.

Maurer's words may also be another attempt to place Mexico's current levels of violence in the framework of human rights violations and international law. In 2011, Mexican activists asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate former President Felipe Caldéron for alleged war crimes during the so-called "war on drugs" that Caldéron launched in 2006 shortly after taking office, but their bid was unsuccessful.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 24 MAR 2021

A bloody ambush on a police unit in the state of Mexico, in which thirteen officials were shot dead, is…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 16 OCT 2020

The US arrest of Mexico's former defense minister on drug charges confirms what has been alleged by traffickers themselves: that the…

FEATURED / 29 APR 2021

Methamphetamine use in Mexico has grown exponentially in recent years and now rivals marijuana as the drug most cited by…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…