If you thought that things were bad enough in Mexico, in the last few months things have only gotten worse. The most immediate concern has been the existential crisis facing the government in its increasingly violent and chaotic war against drug cartels, which has resulted in nearly 10,000 deaths since December 2006, and 5,300 in 2008 alone. The images of this conflict are even more appalling than those frightening numbers. Just last week President Calderon submitted a bill to Congress that would expand the army’s power by creating “domestic security” zones which would give the armed forces access to court and police files. Not surprisingly, the bill drew boisterous rebukes from human rights activists.
But Mexico’s woes don’t end there. On Monday, April 27, 2009, a powerful earthquake struck central Mexico, about 130 miles southwest of Mexico City, the capital. Luckily there no reports of deaths or injuries.
But clearly the earthquake further rattled a country still reeling from an outbreak of “swine flu” that has so far been blamed for 149 deaths in Mexico alone. The epidemic has reached a critical point, forcing Mexican schools to shut down as a result. Some think they have pinpointed the origin of the flu outbreak to a pig farm in La Gloria, a town of 3,000.
An drug war, a flu outbreak, an earthquake — combined with a global financial crisis, to boot — has made life particularly difficult in Mexico. Hopefully things will start turning up in the latter half of 2009. It doesn’t look like it can get any worse.