Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Federal government conceals the number of executions

Thursday, August 16, 2012 |

El Diario

Written by H. Prado and R. Herrera, with information from Diego Osorno

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

Agencia Reforma. Distrito Federal.  The (Mexican) federal government confirmed for REFORMA that there will be no updated official number of murders or deaths related with organized crime until the end of (Calderon's) six-year term (sexenio). The last official statistics to the so-called Database of Deaths Caused by Presumed Criminal Rivalry closed on September 30, 2011, with 47,515 deaths.

Jaime Lopez Aranda, head of the Information Center for the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, stated that, although the databases were unpublished and an example of transparency, they were never more than an "experiment" that in addition gave rise to uncertainty in the Security Cabinet, and that's why it was decided not to continue maintaining them.

Lopez Aranda explained that, "in my personal opinion, not as a government official, this database was a very good experiment in transparency, but it was a failed experiment. In other words, I believe the Mexican government should not be doing the classification of deaths due to organized crime because this greatly distorts the criminal proceedings."

President Felipe Calderon's administration will provide only information on "intentional homicides" (homicidios dolosos) committed in the nation, that amounted to 94,357 deaths up to June of this year, but it will not break out the ones related to organized crime.

"There will be no follow-up (to the homicide database). The references that were used came from federal agencies; Cisen (Centro de Investigacion y Seguridad Nacional, a law enforcement intelligence agency), PGR (Attorney General), Marina, Sedena (National Defense Secretariat; Mexican Army); a "lock box" group would collect it and that was the number given (to the media.)

"But I did not have a criminal investigation to back up every one of those cases because, in addition, there cannot be a criminal investigation for organized crime homicides. So, then, (the number) was not legally supported,." he stated.

The government official continued, "They set the criteria and said: 'Let's see, if they used large caliber (high power) firearms, if they moved the body, if they tied it up, if there's signs of torture, if two or more of these (criteria) are present, it could be like organized crime.' the (numbers) published were supported by methodology, but they were only an approximation, like saying, 'my gut tells me that it is (an organized crime homicide,)'" he explained.

Lopez Aranda argued that the database currently developed by the PGR only includes details about intentional homicides, because the (legal) classifications "execution," "homicides related with organized crime," or "deaths from presumed criminal rivalries" simple cannot be used because they are not defined in any penal code.

Complaints about the numbers

The federal government's decision to bury the (statistics on the) number of persons executed during the six-year term was criticized by experts and by Javier Sicilia, leader of the Movimiento por la Paz (Movement For Peace). The poet declared that the Felipe Calderon administration wants to bury the historical memory of the persons who died in the war against drug trafficking in a  "clandestine grave."

"What is behind this is the same logic used by the Nazis: the human beings who died in the war against the narco   are (just) a number, they're cockroaches. They're not even worth counting. This is the start of a type of Nazism," says Sicilia.

"The truth is that the (number of deaths) was never known. They invented the number! They did this after we demanded it at the (meeting held) at the Castle (Chapultepec Castle on June 23, 2011). They gave out a number, and after that number we know that they are dying and they keep on dying, but the Pentagon, I don't know how they did it, was talking about 150,000 (deaths). And, there are mayors who say the number is 250,000, and we have yet to determine the number of clandestine graves out there. And we will know, some day we will know." 

Eduardo Gallo, the former president of Mexicans United Against Crime (Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia), believes that the federal government wants to leave the (actual) number up in the air so that at the end of the six-year term, this number won't be associated with the final count (attributed to) the Calderon administration.

Ana Laura Magaloni, researcher with the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE: Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas) says that if the database that the Federal Administration itself developed is wrong, then what needs to be done is to develop another one that does meet standards for validity.

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35 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

The real number will never be known but i believe its higher than 100k

Anonymous said...

the number of deaths that counts is 1. that is the number of deaths that it took to destroy my family.

Anonymous said...

You guys want the number is actually close to 300,000 Three Hundred Tousand people. Of wich a bit over 36000 soldiers have died, Over 50,000 police, over 135000 sicarios and tousands of innocent civilians

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why all that is going in Mexico hardly makes it on the evening news here in the US?

It's like the domestic dispute next door that everyone is aware of but we all want to pretend its not happening. It really is strange.

Anonymous said...

bla bla bla Mexico just fucken solve the problem before some poor innocent citizens whine up just becoming another number on the increaseing death toll statistics......its to damn sad

Anonymous said...

"Ana Laura Magaloni, researcher with the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE: Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas) says that if the database that the Federal Administration itself developed is wrong, then what needs to be done is to develop another one that does meet standards for reliability."

Surprised! Ms Magaloni makes a big mistake in her statement with reference to "Reliability" in collecting homicide data.

Students in Statistics 101 learn that data "reliability" is NOT as important as "VALIDITY".

What has been wrong in Mexico is that the people have been fed "reliable" data that is low on validity.... and that is the basic complaint of critics. The Government's "reliable" stats are very suspect ... so, Ana, promises to continue with the problem?

Mexico Watcher

PS: In school we learned that a scale that is 10 lbs off will be highly reliable in indicating weights. However, this scale will be LOW on validity.

Anonymous said...

Only God will ever know the true number of narcotics victims.He knows the number of hairs on our head and when a swallow falls from the sky.don't forget His love for all even the killers. Any person up to the most vile killer can repent and be saved!!! That is Gods promise to the world and is the one hope for all mankind. Peace and security from the evil rulers of this planet is a false ruse. Jesus Christ is the only hope for anyone and is free for the asking. Open your hearts killers for you can also be saved its never to late until you take your last breath. Remember this as your rival puts the knife to your throat and starts to cut because dying in your sins will mean eternal damnation.

Anonymous said...

Its ovious, the media has been saying " since calderon took office there has been 50,000 homicides" for at least 3 years! Im shure its more than 90,000!

Anonymous said...

Mexico is just another world.

Anonymous said...

Oh man,what a mess.....this is appalling from a federal government.Its a Bloody Joke!!!!and know one is laughing.

Anonymous said...

Wait, a federal government hid something from their citizens?! NO WAY!

Anonymous said...

If it really is anywhere near 200-300k dead that is a quarter of a million people which is crazy

Anonymous said...

August 16,2012 7:30 pm lol i know right like dam thats incredible and i was sitting here thinking the mexican or even the u.s government has never lied to there countries citizens or kept secrets from them hahahahaa

un vato said...

Anonymous @2:53: Thank you for the correction. I reviewed the original article and Ms. Magaloni intended to say "validity." My mistake, not hers. I will make the correction.

Anonymous said...

This is so true, there is only one way out...Jesus can save!!!

Anonymous said...

You guys are right!!

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for you loss. I wish I had the power to make it better.

litobrito said...

Nazism?....give it break..every little oppurtunity to yap about hitler..blah blah tired of the hidden agenda bullshit..the drug war has not one thing to do with "nazis"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In that same time the U.S will have about 95 thousand homicides. Thats just our regular phyco dance.

So we have about 3 times the folk as Mexico. But they have a war going on and the kill numbers are all over the road. I couldn't the mayor's numbers the poet alluded to. 2 to 3 hundred thousand in 6 years among a 112 million people is a genuine death trap. If the count is 47 grand then it can't really be called a war.

Looking for the pentagon death estimates I found more than a few articles saying the pentagon is sending arms at a rate that if half true makes fast and furious look like a slow day.

Whatever the case death will be fueled and dollars grabbed. Thats what we do. The human is a greedy short lived creature. Those saying god will help better get on their knees so as to hang on to this shit spinning rock in a unimaginable void.

Anonymous said...

The concept of accurate information and transparency in the age of Corporatocracy is a fart on the high desert.

Some man brought his son up here to hunt. He said he was tired of finding vehicles full of shot people in Mexico.


August 16, 2012 2:10 PM

lol calm down 300K? nah bro, stop talking out your ass you weak troll...

36,000 soldiers? LOL get the fuck out of here.. seriously, people like you ruin this website.

anyways, i'd put the figure at around 100,000 when calderon gets out

Anonymous said...

"This is so true, there is only one way out...Jesus can save"
Some dude who got stuck on a cross in roman times is gonna save us?
The idea is nice in a conceptual kind of way,but,there is one problem.Human nature.
Who knows how many have been killed,but one thing is for sure,if the bitch ass government says 100.000,then you can read that as about,300,000 or more,why would they want to publicize the true numbers?They don't know for real anyway.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many American citizens
Died from narco violence.

Anonymous said...

Un vato: On the reliability vs validity issue, you're welcome.

I think it is very important that the Mexican people keep the heat on to get "valid" accounting of the violent deaths. One important reason is that as long as this is not dealt with with rigorous open science that the people will continue to distrust their government.... and that this distrust in and of itself will continue to poison Mexico.

People that chronically do not trust their government get cynical, afraid, mentally oppressed and depressed, hopeless, and frustrated (among other negative things). It is one of the main factors in corruption because people take shortcuts lubricated by money and influence.

I think the USA, with Obama and our shitty Congress is headed the way of Mexico if we don't wise up. A case in point, is the in the USA we do not trust our media or politicians to be honest anymore.

Mexico Watcher

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for BB: How about doing a survey of serious "knowing" (lay and professional) Mexicans concerning their estimates of the numbers of violence victims.

I would like to have the stats (means, SD, skew, etc.) on the numbers submitted for the decades 1980-'90, 1991-2000, 2001 to 2010, 2011 to present.

I know this would not be rigorously scientific, but it would be useful to know what Mexicans estimate the numbers are.

Just thinking????

Mexico Watcher

Anonymous said...

Its also messed up how all this has effected the way most anglos look at us. Like in arizona or alabama. Thats why i hate that little bastard because him and his fuckin flunkies dont take into account how we are treated in the us. 95% of all the people here are hardworking godfearing people. In arizona the crime has also spiked because his flooding that area. These are the consequenses of the bad news that he brings. Its like the 60's over there with the racism. If you are here legit to work and pay taxes i think u should be given the chance. For all the bandwagon people that dont know first hand think about that. Look at all the people that are trying to get shit done right. Maybe there is a dr, engineer, or lawyer there thats gonna be denied because of this. THINK!!!

Anonymous said...

Chivis can you check on the banners of Los caballeros templarios against the z40

Chivis said...

Just posted it..

Anonymous said...

Yeah man some dude on a Roman cross can and will save anyone who asks. Mabey you will still die or have hard times on this earth but the pay off is priceless!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You're right about asking questions about these victims origin.. How many citizens of the us,Guatemala,Honduras,el Salvador,Canada,ect. Also deportees i think with the record number during this administration the cartels have a never ending supply of exgangmembers. Let's face the facts without these convicts that were.sent packing the cartels wouldn't of been so effective. I'm just putting that out there because of just about every article pr comment I've read.. Any thoughts?? Atte sam sarcasmo

un vato said...

I would like to remind everybody commenting here that perhaps he greatest difficulty in establishing reliable and valid statistics is that very few of the murders are investigated. Granted, many of the murders are multiple murders, but even so, the facts behind the vast majority of homicides are unknown. The government invariably calls these multiple murders, and most of the single murders, an "ajuste de cuentas" (a settlement of debts among narcos), which, any more, is just a code for "we don't intend to look into it." So, as Lopez Aranda mentions in the story, the known facts may fit the informal criteria for classifying a murder as a "homicidio doloso" related to organized crime, but until the homicides are investigated, any conclusions are necessarily speculative. Ironically, the resulting conclusions are neither valid nor reliable.

Another huge problem, as if there weren't enough, is that Mexico lacks the infrastructure-- physically, logistically and technically-- to carry out competent investigations, including forensics, in most parts of the country, especially rural areas. This is why articles like this one and the one from El Diario, while important, only amount to educated guesses.

Finally, government statistics are suspect because they are politically motivated, period. I don't think there's any question about that, but it bears repeating. Treat them accordingly. Sorry for the editorial. un vato

Mark L said...

I think ahead of even oil - drugs are Mexico's biggest export to the US. The goverment of Mexico is just the largest of the cartels and is also in charge of the reports that 'officially' document the slaughter going on as they try and keep the lion's share of the smuggling procedes going to their unofficial coffers. The death toll won't even begin to be mitigated until the mythological War-on-Drugs ends. God bless the fallen.

Chivis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your the ballbag sayin you know 40?Who talkin out they ass now,you was playin russian roulette with him in Laredo?You aint a back door bandido are you?Smashin on 40s brown eye?EL GUERO DE BOLAS GRANDES ?Why that name.Maybe you did get it on with 40,as long as you dont frighten the donkeys.

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