Waves of violence

The Economist, 6/11/12

FOR the first time in Mexico’s five-year war on organised crime, the level of violence seems to have stabilised. Last year saw about 22,000 murders, only slightly more than the 21,000 recorded in the previous year. That is still double the number in 2007. But there are tentative hopes that the violence may have peaked: so far, 2012 has been somewhat less bloody than last year. The stable national picture masks sharply different regional trends…

The ebb and flow of violence reflects the changing fortunes of Mexico’s criminal gangs. The north-west has quietened down because the Sinaloa mob has beaten its rivals into near-submission in cities such as Juárez and Tijuana. Meanwhile in the north-east, Sinaloa and its allies in the Gulf “cartel” are bidding to take over turf controlled by the Zetas, with gruesome consequences.

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