Al Jazeera – Every November 2, Mexicans mark the Day of the Dead by honouring deceased loved ones. Given the disproportionate number of deaths produced by Mexico’s US-backed drug war, officially launched in 2006, it is starting to seem like an ever-more tragically appropriate tradition.
Estimates vary as to the total number of deaths since the start of the drug war, but many observers put it at above 100,000. And this isn’t even counting the more than 27,000 Mexicans currently missing or disappeared – by most objective accounts an underestimate – or the 70,000-120,000 Central American migrants estimated to have disappeared while travelling through Mexico since 2006.
But this alibi is more than slightly defective. For one thing, the cartels are often indistinguishable from local and state police, and form networks dedicated to extortion, kidnapping, and killing, all of which increases social control and helps to suppress dissent.