June 22 (UPI) — May was Mexico’s deadliest month on record since the country’s National System for Public Security began taking count of homicides 20 years ago.
The survey found that 2,186 people were murdered in Mexico during the month of May. The country is on pace to have its deadliest year on record. The year 2012 currently holds that title with 9,466 homicides between January and May.
This year, the country already had 9,916 by the end of May.
“This is the overwhelming and absolute failure of [Mexican President Enrique]Peña Nieto’s public safety policy,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexican security analyst, told BuzzFeed News.
Peña Nieto’s to return to policies that involve heavy crackdowns on drug cartels has been blamed for the increase in violence across the country.
“The recent return to 2011 murder rates is a symbolic moment – President Enrique Peña Nieto started his administration promising a less militarized approach to the fight against drug cartels, a step away from the ‘war on drugs’ strategy,” the Britain-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a study on countries conflicted with armed conflict. “But Pena Nieto is nowhere near fulfilling his original plan of reducing the military presence on the streets. On the contrary, the go-to solution to the recurrent security crisis has been the dispatch of federal forces, frequently military ones, in place of inefficient, badly equipped and often corrupt local police forces.”
That policy helped Mexico earn the title of second-most violent country in the world, behind only Syria, according to IISS.
But the Mexican government pushed back against the ranking because it didn’t believe that fighting drug cartels should be considered “armed conflict.”
“This is incorrect,” the Mexican government said in a statement. “The existence of criminal groups is not a sufficient criterion to speak of a non-international armed conflict. Neither is the use of the Armed Forces to maintain order in the country’s interior.”
The statement went on to say that other countries have a higher homicide rate, as well, including Venezuela and Honduras.