REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – Of the 32 states in Mexico, Tamaulipas is the fourth most “peaceful,” according to a report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace and published by Vision of Humanity.
“Yucatán was once again the most peaceful state in Mexico, followed by Tlaxcala, Chiapas, Tamaulipas and Nayarit,” the report states.
“Reflecting the great divergence in violence levels across the country, the average homicide rate in the most peaceful states was 9.2 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to an average rate of 74.6 in the least peaceful states.”
Details of the report were first publicized in the Rio Grande Valley by Duncan Wood, vice president for strategy and new initiatives at the Wilson Center and senior advisor to the Mexico Institute, on his recent visit to the region. Neither the Wilson Center of the Mexico Institute played any part in producing the report.
At a breakfast event hosted by the CEO Club at the McAllen Country Club, Wood said Tamaulipas was reportedly the fourth most peaceful state in Mexico. Some members of in the audience chuckled when he said it. Wood acknowledged the findings of the report seem hard to believe.
Wood brought up the report in a Q&A after his speech. Paul R. Rodriguez, CEO of Valley Land Title Co., asked the question. “What about the elephant in the room has to be security. Where do you think Mexico stands there?” Rodriguez asked.
Wood gave a detailed response about national security in Mexico in general. He then addressed Tamaulipas specifically.
“I was looking at the data on security header of this trip. I wanted to look at how Tamaulipas is doing. And weirdly enough, there’s a Peacefulness Index. It’s a Global Index, but then the index on Mexico was recently released. And Tamaulipas was classified as the fourth most peaceful state in Mexico,” Wood said.
After murmurs from the CEO Club members, Wood responded:
“Yeah, yeah, exactly. It doesn’t make sense, right? So I asked some of my colleagues, how do you explain this? And one of them took the time to write to the folks who authored the report.”
Wood said a few disclaimers are probably necessary.
“One, this is based upon the federal government data from Mexico, but that federal government data is the same across all the states, right, but there may be errors in there. Number two, the declining influence of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas is reflected here. Number three, you’re seeing an evolution of crime so that whilst homicides have been dropping, in fact, we’re seeing other kinds of crimes increase. And the other point is what I said earlier on, which is that this may just be a temporary thing.”
But, Wood said, there is reason for hope.
“If the near-shoring moment becomes more than just a moment, if there is a saturation of opportunities in Nuevo Leon, which I think is happening, and if we have business, government and community leaders here on this side of the border, and in Tamaulipas, (work together), then I think there’s a possibility to actually get some of the economic growth that we need to change that (insecurity) equation.”
Wood said Tamaulipas has a lot to offer, from an economic development standpoint. He listed some of that potential.
“You think about all the things that Tamaulipas has to offer. Renewable energy in the San Fernando Valley. The extraordinary opportunities in terms of building out the infrastructure, of connecting down the Gulf Coast to Veracruz and further on to the south. In particular, as you’re seeing the potential for building out that Transoceanic link that I that I mentioned earlier on. Traditional hydrocarbon energy and the potential for natural gas.”
“So I’d love to see a wave of investment going into Tamaulipas and maybe, to begin with, it’s the bigger companies that go in there, but the bigger companies are only going to get there if you have the workforce and if you have the infrastructure, if you have the energy. So that’s going to be a real challenge, I think, for the next administration.”
Here is an audio recording of Duncan Wood responding to Paul Rodriguez’s question about security in Mexico:
Vision of Humanity
According to the Vision of Humanity website, the Mexico Peace Index (MPI) “provides a comprehensive measure of peacefulness in Mexico, including trends, analysis and estimates of the economic impact of violence on the country.”
The website says report also includes examples of the practical application of Positive Peace in Mexico at the national, state and local level.
“Improving peacefulness in Mexico requires broader strategies that include addressing corruption and building effective institutions that are trusted by the public. In order to address elevated levels of violence, a holistic, integrated public security and peace-building framework is needed,” the website states.
“The MPI report provides evidence for policy makers, business leaders and civil society organizations to help develop new and broader peace-building solutions for Mexico.”
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