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Mexico braces for a violent 2010

[ 2010-01-08 14:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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Chihuahua, a city near the Mexican-US border, will see even more violence in 2010, a top Mexican general told the local media.

According to estimates published by local media, Chihuahua saw nearly 2,100 murders in 2009, out of nearly 6,600 in the whole nation, or around 65 murders per 100,000 residents.

El Salvador, the region's most violent nation, had 71 murders per 100,000 residents during the same period.

"Recent years have been tough, but we expect this year to see a greater increase, because of the start of elections which will make it tougher," said General Felipe de Jesus Espitia Hernandez, commander of the Chihuahua Joint Operation.

However, "federal forces are making our best effort," he added. At the end of 2006, Mexican authorities started to fight organized crime using a combination of military and federal police.

As a result, authorities have arrested or killed many of the nation's top drug traffickers, and triggered battles for control of smuggling routes.

The most recent tragedy occurred in Chihuahua claimed a total of 29 lives in 24 hours, including two state police officers and six women, authorities said on Monday.

A group of six attackers killed two state police in a hail of bullets on Monday as they left a car shop, according to the Chihuahua State deputy prosecutor's office.

In a fight to exterminate drug-related crimes, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 45,000 soldiers into drug hotspots in recent years to fight powerful drug cartels.

Violence related to the war on gangs has cost more than 15,000 lives since he took office in late 2006, despite the deployment of more than 50,000 security forces in the government crackdown on the organized crime.

Even though the drug-related crimes have plagued the North American nation, Calderon said on Wednesday that jobs and poverty reduction will be his top two priorities in 2010, while the fight against drug cartels is placed third.

In a televised speech, the conservative president, who spent the first half of his presidency on a crime crackdown, promised that historic levels of investment will go to roads, seaports and airports to create jobs as Mexico emerges from a deep economic recession.

"Creating jobs, that is the most important thing for a family to get ahead in life," said Calderon, whose election campaign cast him as "the jobs president" but later he found that the drug war overshadowed that slogan.

The apparent change in the President's emphasis comes amid criticism that the nationwide unemployment rate topped at 5 percent in November.

But that number may be an underestimate, since most of Mexico has no unemployment insurance system and unemployed people usually seek to eke out a living as street vendors or in other occupations in the informal sectors.

Rising poverty and unemployment are also said to contribute to the worsening security situation in Mexico, some analysts say.

Calderon said he will fight poverty by "spending more money to build schools, hospitals," as well as on cash-support programs for poor families.

A government report published in July showed that extreme poverty in Mexico, defined as people who cannot buy enough food, rose from 13.8 million in 2006 to 19.5 million in 2008, in a country of 107 million total population.


1. How many murders in Chihuahua in 2009?

2. How many murders per 100,000 occur in El Salvador

3. In 2008 how many people can’t buy food in Mexico?


1. 2100.

2. 71.

3. 19.5 million.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Mexico braces for a violent 2010

About the broadcaster:

Mexico braces for a violent 2010

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.