At least four people were shot and killed this weekend in the once glamorous Pacific resort of Acapulco. It’s gone from a vacation paradise for the rich and famous to a hotspot in Mexico’s rising drug violence.
Murder has become a matter of course.
An Associated Press journalist saw the four bodies, including a man who lay on a central avenue in Acapulco in broad daylight Sunday with a pink towel over his face.
The deaths came as Mexico’s violence reached new heights with 2,234 murders in June. For the first six months of 2017, authorities nationwide recorded 12,155 homicide investigations, or 31 percent more than the 9,300 during the same period last year, Mashable reported.
Acapulco has the highest murder rate in the country.
The cartels, the military and the tourists all vied for control and the cartels have won, at least for now.
During the 1950s, stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot were frequent visitors to the azure coast and sun-drenched beaches.
The 1960s and 1970s brought about the development of cheaper resorts and more tourists and businesses.
By 1990, there was growth in the lucrative drug trade and with it came a surge in violence.
In late September, 2014, 43 students mysteriously disappeared from the area.
In 2014, 43 students in a town near Acapulco had traveled by bus from a teacher’s college in nearby Ayotzinapa to stage a protest in Iguala where the mayor’s wife was speaking. They disappeared, but reports are that the students were handed over to a local cartel.
One student’s body was dumped in the streets of Iguala the next day with the skin of his face removed. The students were never found but searches yielded mass graves of others murdered by the cartels.
Less than 3% of murders are solved in Mexico.
By 2011, Acapulco’s murder rate had climbed to nearly 128 per 100,000 people, according to the think tank Mexican Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.
In 2012, that number rose to 142 per 100,000. The murder rate in the United States in 2013 was just 4.6 people per 100,000.
If we keep our borders open and keep buying their drugs, we too can be Acapulco.