Over 47,000 murders in Mexico
Since the drugs trade is illegal, it operates outside the laws and regulation of governments. Instead criminals use guns and violence to secure their power and profits. The cartels recruit young and poor members of the community to become foot soldiers and low-level drug dealers, so that when governments do try to crack down, they are able to fight back with widespread violence – and invariably it is the small-time drug dealers that get killed or arrested, rather than the real criminals at the top of the food chain.
In Mexico, 50,000 soldiers and federal police are fighting the cartels, yet the violence continues to escalate, with shoot-outs, beheadings, and mass graves becoming more common by the day. And as long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, the problems of the drug trade will remain. Crack down in one region and it appears in another: before Mexico, there were 52,000 murders in Colombia in 1991-1992, and now regions like Guatemala and West Africa are being overrun too.