Mexico facing record homicide levels

URUAPAN, Mexico – A gun massacre of three young boys, a teenager and five others who were playing video games at an arcade in Michoacan is just one recent example of the violence in Mexico as it faces record homicide levels.

The attack that occurred last week in Uruapan, a city of a 340,000, is part of an escalating wave of violence in the city.

Just the day before, 11 bodies were found in clandestine graves on a hill where luxury apartments are being built. The day prior to that, gunmen attacked a municipal police patrol, killing an officer and wounding two others.

The attack may have been in retaliation for the earlier arrest of a Los Viagras leader who has been implicated in 19 killings.

Recent events made clear that Uruapan, where murders rose 61% from 2018 to 2019 according to government figures, remains a hot spot of violence.

Mexico recorded more than 35,000 homicides last year, the most since comparable records began to be kept in the 1990s, though the rate of increase was far lower than in previous years.

Since then-president Felipe Calderon ramped up a militarized anti-drug offensive beginning in 2006, annual killings have more than tripled in the country.

Current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office in December 2019, has in the past referred to his security strategy as “hugs not bullets” and emphasizes addressing root causes of violence such as poverty, youth unemployment and corruption, in contrast to his predecessors.

Meanwhile, relatives of the victims in the arcade attack walked behind a black Hearse while mourning, with no reason or motive clarified as to why the boys were killed.

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