Kidnappings, Extortion up in Mexico, During Peña Nieto's First Year

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As Mexico's president completes his first year in office, key security indicators, like the monthly amount of extortions and kidnappings, seem to be getting worse. And that's just the start of Enrique Peña Nieto's problems.


Economic growth, which was one of Peña Nieto's key campaign promises, is only expected to reach a paltry 1.2% in 2013. According to a study from Mexico's National Geography and Statistics Institute, 68 percent of people 18 and older, feel the city they live in is unsafe.

Peña Nieto came into office promising to boost the country's economy by tackling large monopolies, and by making it easier for private companies to invest in its energy sector. He managed to pass a law that will open the telecommunications sector to greater competition, but his plans for oil sector reform are still stalled in Congress, and face tough resistance in the street from left wing groups.


Peña Nieto also promised to improve human rights training in Mexico's armed forces, and reduce crime by creating social programs that would decrease poverty, and engage kids in poor communities.

So far though, statistics seem to indicate that Peña Nieto has had a tough time reducing drug violence.

While the number of homicides in the country fell by about 10 percent over the past 11 months, kidnappings have increased by 24 percent and extortion by 12 percent, according to stats compiled by Mexico's National System for Public Security.

Check out this chart compiled by news site Animal Politico, which tracks the amount of kidnapping, homicides and extortions recorded each month:


EPN / VIOLENCIA | Create infographics

The numbers on this chart refer to the number of extortions and kidnappings that have been reported to Mexican police this year.


Mexico's Interior Minister has said that numbers are higher this year, because nowadays, people actually have more trust in police and are actually reporting crimes.

But security experts in Mexico say there is no hard evidence to support this theory. Several developments in Mexico actually suggest that extortion is a growing problem nationwide.


Earlier this year, Mexican newspaper Reforma reported that in 68 counties around Mexico, locals had formed self defense organizations aimed at stopping cartels from kidnapping people, and taxing local businesses.

In the western state of Michoacan, where Peña Nieto's government has sent more than 5,000 troops this year, vigilante groups are fighting the Knights Templar drug cartel on a weekly basis.


Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.

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