Security in Mexico: Raising the stakes

The Economist, 8/26/11

A CASINO in the troubled northern city of Monterrey was set alight yesterday afternoon, in an attack that officials say killed 40 people. Some reports said that armed men had burst in and doused the Casino Royale with flammable liquid. Others said the men had thrown grenades. At the time of writing some people were reportedly still trapped inside.

Some 40,000 people have been killed so far in Mexico’s heightened drug war, which is nearing five years old. In spite of the violence, Mexico’s economy has been doing reasonably well. Though the border with the United States has seen the worst of the fighting, trade between the two countries is at an all-time high. Crucial to keeping the investment and visitors flowing is the fact that the violence has been highly concentrated—most of the murders taking place in a handful of municipalities—and that most of the victims, we are told (without hard evidence, mind you) are people who are themselves involved in organised crime.

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