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The United States has diplomatic relations with 194 independent nations. Of these, none is more important to America than Mexico in terms of trade, investment, tourism, natural resources, migration, energy, and security. In recent years, narco-violence has afflicted Mexico with more than 50,000 drug-related murders since 2007 and some 26,000 men, women, and children missing. President Enrique Peña Nieto has tried to divert national attention from the bloodshed through reforms in energy, education, anti-hunger, health-care, and other areas. Even though the death rate has declined since the chief executive took office on December 1, 2012, other crimes continue to plague his nation. Members of the business community report continual extortion demands; the national oil company PEMEX suffers widespread theft of oil, gas, explosives, and solvents (with which to prepare methamphetamines); hundreds of Central American migrants have shown up in mass graves; and the public identifies the police with corruption and villainy. Washington policymakers, who overwhelmingly concentrate on Asia and the Mideast, would be well-advised to focus on the acute dangers that lie principally below the Rio Grande, but whose deadly avatars are spilling into our nation.
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George W. Grayson Dr.,
The Evolution of Los Zetas in Mexico and Central America: Sadism as an Instrument of Cartel Warfare ( US Army War College Press, 2014),