President Enrique Peña-Nieto just entered the last year of his presidency. He will hand over power to his successor on December 1, 2018. (Elections will actually place in July and there is already a lot of campaigning going on.)
My guess is that he can’t wait to pass the ball to the next one. Violence is out of control in Mexico, as we see in this report from Elena Toledo:
President Enrique Peña Nieto has been plagued by an inability to combat violence, but 2017 has been Mexico’s worst to date under his leadership.
Officials have registered 11,308 homicides this month — a figure that exceeds the 10,967 violent deaths that were reported at the time last year. If the trend continues, 2017 could close with 12,328 murders, the third-highest record of the decade, falling below the 12,568 crimes in 2010 and 12,412 in 2012.
In November, an average of 36 murders were committed each day in Mexico, amounting to a 1,082 total murders and the third-most violent month of the year after July and March.
Around 55 percent of violence comes out of the same seven states, with more than 100 victims documented for torture before execution.
The worst states have reportedly been: Guerrero, Veracruz, Guanajuato and Chihuahua. Guerrero rebounded with 24 percent violence, as homicides increased from 114 to 142.
Gangs killed 112 people in the state of Veracruz, while Guanajuato recorded 98 murders that, according to Milenio, “follow the MO of narco-violence.” It was the second-most violent month for these kinds of crimes, trailing October with 119.
Naturally, this is a big topic in the campaign. The critics say that President Peña-Nieto lacks a clear policy. Others tell me that it’s hard to fight cartels when the justice system stinks or we consume billions of dollars of illegal drugs in the U.S.
The bottom line is that voters in Mexico will now face another election where violence is paramount.
In 2006, then candidate Calderon promised to use the armed forces to fight cartels and he did.
In 2012, then-candidate Peña-Nieto promised to develop a better police force and put the troops back in the barracks.
They both had their successes, such as the killing of “narco heads”, but the violence is getting worse not better.
Mexico’s next president will have to figure out how to fight cartels with a tired armed forces and a very inexperienced police force.
Add to this the billions of dollars flowing south from illegal drug consumption, plus a totally messed up judicial system, and the cartels probably feel pretty good about their chances against whoever the next president is!