The idyllic Pacific coast town of Acapulco in Mexico’s Guerrero state once welcomed Hollywood stars and honeymooners, but the city has suffered a wave of bloody violence in recent years, as cartels and criminal groups battle for control.
Since 2012, Acapulco, which has been called “Guerrero’s Iraq,” has been the most violent city in Mexico, and among the most violent cities in the world, with homicide rates above 100 per 100,000 people each year.
These numbers are down from violent peaks reached in 2012 — the city had about 100 homicides a month that year — but the intensity of the bloodshed stands out, and appears to be closely linked to the fragmentation of Mexico’s criminal organizations.
“Violence in the southwest coastal area is the result of the some of the shifting cartel dynamics that we’ve seen among the major players … dating back four or five years … when we saw the takedown of the major figures of the Beltran Leyva Organization,” David Shirk, professor at the University of Sand Diego, told Business Insider.
The Beltran Leyva Organization, or BLO, partnered with “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel and controlled parts of central and southwestern Mexico. In the late 2000s, the BLO started fighting with the Sinaloa cartel and faced increased pressure from the Mexican government.
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