Mexico Sets Homicide Record As Country Descends Into Chaos 

A new report from Associated Press (AP) reveals how homicides in Mexico have hit a new record high in 1H19, a 5.3% increase compared to the same period of 2018.

Mexico reported a record 3,080 killings in June alone, an increase of 8% YoY, according to government numbers. The country of 125 million sees an average of 100 murders per day.

The 17,608 homicides in 1H19 are the most on record since the government started keeping track in 1997, including one of the worst years of the drug war in 2011.

Officials said 16,714 people were killed in the 1H18, a noticeable rise YoY that demonstrates the country continues to descend into chaos.

The epicenter of killings is centered around the northern state of Sonora, where cartel violence has exploded in recent years. The number of murders in Sonora jumped a whopping 69% in 1H19 YoY.

The AP noted murders in Sinaloa, where drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is based, decreased by 23% YoY.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador overhauled security forces since entering office on December 2018; it's not clear if there are analysis and intelligence reports that pinpoint exactly what's been triggering the surge in homicides this year.

"I could give you ten potential, plausible reasons, but the truth is we don't know, and that is perhaps the biggest problem," said security analyst Alejandro Hope.

"There is very little systematic research that would allow us to conclude what is really happening."

Lopez Obrador blamed deteriorating economic conditions and failed social policies of previous administrations for intensifying the killings this year and said the government has been working hard to clean up corruption and correct massive wealth inequality that plagues many citizens in all 31 states.

"Social policies are very important - we agree they'll have positive effects. But these positive effects will be seen in the long term," said Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, a civil group that monitors justice and security in Mexico.

Lopez Obrador's nationalist agenda will undergo a major test this year in the attempt to restore peace. A new and controversial militarized National Guard police force has also been launched to combat cartels.

Lopez Obrador's success hinges on the revival of state-owned energy company Pemex. The heavily indebted oil company - have frightened credit rating agencies by constructing a new $8 billion refinery.

If credit rating agencies downgrade Pemex, this will derail Lopez Obrador's nationalist's ambitions of "Making Mexico Great Again."

However, growth rates have already turned lower in the economy, dwindling business confidence and an industrial slowdown threatens to send Mexico into a recession - that would undoubtedly result in more violence as the country spirals out of control.