Mexico

Last month, gunmen dumped 35 dead bodies on the streets of Veracruz, one of Mexico’s busiest Gulf ports, just a short distance from where the country’s state attorneys were due to hold a convention. Last week, another 32 dead bodies were found stashed in Veracruz houses.

And last weekend, the nearby university town of Xalapa hosted an offshoot of the Hay literary festival – a genteel and ruminative gathering of the kind that Harry Eyres writes about in his weekend FT column “The Slow Lane”. It is also the kind of discrepancy that is becoming increasingly common as Mexico grinds through the fifth year of its “drugs war”. Read more

“It is like throwing money down a hole.” The judgement from Mexican think-tank “Mexico Evalua” is a dispiriting verdict on the country’s four-year long offensive against organised crime, which has resulted in almost 40,000 deaths. But it also reads like a true one.

In 2009, Mexico spent a mere 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product on security. (Colombia spent eight times the amount, while the regional average is 1.5 per cent.) But boosting spending won’t make any difference, on Evalua’s reading, because the main problem in Mexico is not that it is trying to fight organised crime, but that it is using an institutional apparatus that does not work to do so. Read more