Mexico: 200 Families Flee Because of Threats

Some 200 families in the Mexican state of Sinaloa have fled their homes following death threats from a criminal group allegedly linked to the Zetas, InSight Crime reported.

Formerly the military wing of the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas are one of the most violent groups in Mexico and have started to grow in Guatemala.

El Tecomate de la Noria is the fifth community in the Mazatlan municipality displaced by threats or violence from armed groups. People from the town sought refuge in the city of Mazatlan, taking what they could carry and hitchhiking or traveling by car and taxi. 

According to the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights (CEDH), the state now houses between 25,000 and 35,000 internally displaced people (IDP), a small part of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs organized crime can be blamed for in the country. The state of Sinaloa has registered displacements in 11 of 18 municipalities.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), displacements are 4.5 times as likely to take place in more violent areas. This correlates with UNHCR reports that states with the highest number of displaced people are those most affected by organized crime: Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, Sinaloa, Michoacan, and Guerrero.

The government is making strides to assist the displaced population. Plans were announced to create an official registry of people displaced by organized crime as well as a process where victims can get formal government recognition and then support from international organizations.