Death toll in Mexican Drug War rises to 2,243 since December 1st subject logo: MEX2013
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By Chris Covert

A total of 2,243 individuals have been murdered in Mexico since December 1st, 2012, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news report posted on the website of Milenio news daily said that the total includes soldiers, civilian government officials including police agents, as well as civilians. The toll includes all murders linked to organized crime activity, whether or not involved with organized crime.

The report, a compilation of statistics from the Mexican military forces and civilian security agencies, is the first time since September, 2011 that those statistics have been released. In 2011, the government of former president Felipe Calderon ceased to supply those figures because, it was later stated, some of those deaths may have been prejudged by the connection to organized crime activity.

In 2011, cumulatively the total deaths attributable to organized crime stood at 47,515 from December 1st, 2007 to September, 2011. It wasn't until November, 2012 that it was revealed why the statistic compilation was stopped, by Oscar Vega, head of the Mexican Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica.

According to the data supplied by the Milenio article, intentional homicides attributable to organized crime declined by 39 cases to 1,068 deaths. Included in those deaths are 30 civilian officials killed in the line of duty and six individuals killed which were "beyond the facts", as the article termed it. That presumably meant those deaths were civilians caught in crossfires.

The statistics claim the number of deaths attributable to armed confrontations between drug gangs declined by 86 percent from December, 2012 to January, 2013. Part of of newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's security strategy is to reduce violence.

According to the report, 1,050 individuals were wounded in armed confrontations with 722 being involved in organized crime, 223 of whom were described as innocent and 105 were public servants such as police and military.

The new report has not come without criticism from political opponents. According to a news account posted on the website of El Arsenal news daily, Partido de Democratica Revolucion (PRD) general secretary Alejandro Sanchez Camacho characterized the new statistics as "scary". Sanchez Camacho said Pena's strategy was the same as his predecessor President Calderon, adding he could not give President Pena six years to implement his new security strategy.

The report is a stunning change from previous news reports in Mexican press which had indicated that the Mexican federal government was not planning to report all deaths in the new security strategy, or was going to slow the reporting of those deaths. It now appears that part of the new strategy is to present more finely granulated data as to casualties in Mexico's drug war.

December 1st, 2012 was the first day of the term of President Pena. President Pena ran on a platform to transform how the Mexican government deals with its massive organized crime problem.

President Pena has placed his Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB) or interior ministry -- in the form of Miguel Osorio Chong, who now appears to function as Pena's plenipotentiary on security matters -- front and center on the Mexican federal government response to its organized crime problem. SEGOB compiled the statistics on murders and injuries attributable to organized crime.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for

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