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Mexico ranks as fourth most crime-ridden country in the world

The Latin American country is the fourth most dangerous in the world, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime
A soldier stands near police officers guarding the crime scene following the attempted assassination of Mexico City police chief Omar Garcia Harfuch

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

Mexico is now the fourth most crime-ridden country in the world and the second most dangerous in the Americas, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, which studies 193 countries. Only Colombia, the Congo and Myanmar surpass the country presided over by Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Violence in Mexico has reached unprecedented levels, especially after violence increased in Colima earlier this year.

There are several reasons for Mexico's poor performance, including the high sophistication of the country's organised crime groups, which are the most wanted in the world: "Drug cartels control territory in much of Mexico, co-opting the state through bribery and intimidation in order to facilitate their illicit activities". This situation of control of the country by the mafias is compounded by other criminal activities prevalent in Mexico, such as human trafficking, trade in arms and various drugs such as heroin, and crimes against the country's flora, fauna and natural resources.

El jefe de seguridad de la Ciudad de México fue herido en un ataque con arma de fuego el viernes en el que murieron dos de sus guardaespaldas y una mujer, según la alcaldesa Claudia Sheinbaum. AFP/PEDRO PARDO
AFP/PEDRO PARDO - Images of shell casings

In addition, the country's location, with its long coastline and rich biodiversity, makes it an ideal environment for drug trafficking and human trafficking, as well as species smuggling, which makes it climb the world's crime rankings. Mexico is home to approximately 125 of the world's species, making it a very rich country and a focus of interest for animal trafficking mafias. Experts predict a huge crisis of biodiversity loss in the country, fuelled especially by high levels of national unemployment, which means that many Mexicans see animal trafficking as an option for earning an income. Among the most traded exotic species are the yellow-headed parakeet, the scarlet macaw, the green macaw, the yellow-breasted toucan, the spider monkey and the howler monkey.

The level of control of the mafias over the state is so great that it not only makes Mexican citizens vulnerable, but also endangers the democratic quality of the country. Experts fear that organised crime can manipulate the elections due to the power vacuums of federal security authorities and the proximity to states such as Zacatecas, which ranks first in terms of organised crime. This situation is reflected in the declarations of the director general of the Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano de Seguridad, Justicia y Legalidad A.C. (ONC), Francisco Rivas Rodríguez: "Today Durango, of the six entities that are changing government, is one of those that should worry us, because of its proximity to entities that are particularly decomposed, which could lead to an outbreak of violence", he said, referring to Zacatecas, and added: "If there is a risk because of all the space that is left empty and all that is left to the authorities, then organised crime will eventually creep in".

El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, da una conferencia de prensa en el Palacio Nacional en la Ciudad de México. REUTERS/HENRY ROMERO
REUTERS/HENRY ROMERO - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.
Being a journalist in Mexico, a risky profession

It cannot be forgotten that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to work as a journalist. As a result of the rise of organised crime in the North American country, the murders of journalists have been a constant, and the figures are clear: since 2000, 153 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, of whom 141 were men and 12 women. So far this year alone, eight journalists have been murdered.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.