Mexico has close to 120,000 murders during López Obrador's term in office

The figures for homicides and femicides in the country confirm the failure of the government's national security strategy

AFP/PEDRO PARDO  -   Images of bullet casings

The Mexican Executive led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador is on the verge of reaching 120,000 homicides and femicides, according to a study by Mexico's Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP). These figures for violent deaths in the Aztec country represent a failure of the government-led national security strategy and an increase in violence and murders in Mexico, since in just four years of López Obrador's term in office, the number of homicides has already reached almost the same figure as during the six years of the previous president's term in office.

According to the SESNSP, between December 2018 and April 2022, 118,732 homicides have been recorded in the North American country; these data lead experts to believe that by the end of this May, violent deaths could exceed the 120,341 recorded during the six years of the previous president Enrique Peña Nieto's full term in office.

REUTERS/LUIS CORTES  - A soldier stands near police officers guarding the crime scene following the attempted assassination of Mexico City police chief Omar Garcia Harfuch.

According to the newspaper El Universal, López Obrador's government has accumulated 21 days with 100 or more murders in 24 hours. Regarding these figures, the current president has stated in various public speeches that "what has cost us the most is the homicides, but they are already going down".

Record number of murders due to gender violence

The figures also include victims of gender violence, which during the first four years of López Obrador's term of office have reached the highest number since records began. Throughout August 2021, 112 women were murdered for gender-related reasons, 111 in May and 103 in March. This means that in Mexico 3.6 women die every day because they are women. According to a recent analysis by Amnesty International, a body made up of more than 100 million people from 150 countries, there is a daily average of 12 women murdered in Latin America or the Caribbean for gender-related reasons, which amounts to a total of 4,380 feminicides per year. In addition, Amnesty International notes that threats of "patriarchal violence" continue to exist in the 33 Latin American nations surveyed, as many of the policies in place are inadequate to protect women in these regions.

 No president can be proud

The increase in homicides during López Obrador's first four years in office continues the upward trend in murders that has been registered during the last few terms in office. During the term of former president and political adversary Felipe Calderón, who governed Mexico between 2006 and 2012, there were 120,341 intentional homicides and femicides. This figure is slightly lower than that recorded during Enrique Peña Nieto's term in office, between 2012 and 2018, when 156,385 violent deaths were registered in the country. Confirming this trend, in the first three and a half years of the current president López Obrador's term in office, 118,732 murders have been recorded, but the figure will surely exceed that of his predecessors as there are still just over two years left in the legislature.

Denis Bocquet  -   "No more femicides" reads this graffiti in Mexico City.
March, the bloodiest month in Mexico

According to the security report of López Obrador's government, March was the month with the highest number of intentional homicides in 2022, reaching the terrible figure of 3,632 murders, which means a daily average of almost 120 people. Beyond the figures, the murders confirm the spiral of violence into which the Spanish-speaking country has fallen. To the death toll must be added the more than 4,000 missing persons registered in the first three months of the year. With these figures in hand, the government has celebrated the fact that this is the March with the fewest murders in the last five years. Specifically, during March 2022, 220 fewer bodies were recorded than in the previous year, but there were also 240 more than in 2017, when the current president had not yet come to power.

Despite the high figures, the data reveal that not all states in the country kill at the same rate: only six states account for 50% of the country's homicides. Guanajuato, Michoacán, Estado de México, Baja California, Jalisco and Sonora are the states with the highest concentration of murders, home to a total of 42 million people, meaning that a third of Mexico's total population lives in a state of constant alert under the yoke of violence.

However, even if the levels of violence are not equally high throughout the country, it is true that they reach every corner of Mexican territory. Since 2019, 132,088 people have been murdered, and 67,122 have disappeared and it is still not known where they are or if they are alive. As if since the beginning of the legislature the entire population of Sagunto, Valencia, had disappeared without a trace.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.