Monday, March 22, 2010

Mexico's drug war takes growing toll on Americans

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Lo...Image via Wikipedia

MEXICO CITY -- More Americans in Mexico are falling victim to a wave of drug violence sweeping the country, a change driven home by the recent killing of a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband who were gunned down after leaving a children's birthday party.

The number of U.S. citizens killed in Mexico has more than doubled to 79 in 2009 from 35 in 2007, according to the U.S. State Department's annual count. No figures were available for the first two months of 2010.

While only some of the killings are specifically listed as "executions" or "drug-related," the increase in homicides appears to be related to drug battles. In Ciudad Juarez, the northern border city hardest hit by drug violence and where the consulate employee was killed, homicides of Americans rose to 23 in 2009 from two in 2007.

The annual murder rate for the estimated 500,000 American citizens in Mexico at any one time has risen - but still remains lower than in some U.S. cities
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