Essay: Mexico City Nights
In 2000, President Vicente Fox took power in Mexico, vowing to combat the growing levels of crime that have been on the rise since the early ’90s. With a core population of 8 million citizens – equal to that of New York City – the Distrito Federal (D.F.) is stifled by a widely corrupt police force only two-thirds the size of its American counterpart.
Combined with this grossly underpaid and understaffed police force is a massive flow of drugs from Colombia. Everything from cocaine to heroin to marijuana is funneled through the capital on its way north. Locally, it is trafficked for the cartels by local gangs. There are international repercussions to drugs in D.F.: the United Nations estimates that 90% of all cocaine used in the United States is smuggled from South America through Mexico City.
Violence against journalists has resulted in the self-censorship of many of the city’s leading publications, so much that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has strongly advocated the federal protection of journalists, citing it as, “essential for the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in this country.”
Bribery and corruption has reached deep into the judiciary system, making both the apprehension and successful prosecution of criminals unlikely. The capital is in a circle of violence, one that shows no possibility of slowing in the near future.
Coordinated muggings and gang violence make it an extraordinarily dangerous place to live. Beyond the allure of the bright city lights lies an ugly truth: when the sun sets, crime heats up on the pavement of Mexico City nights.