The sixth year of Mexico's murderous war against drug cartels claimed a staggering 12,000 lives, according to bleak tallies being reported in the Mexican press that show upticks in beheadings, torture, and violence against women and children. There is no official number from Felipe Calderon's government, which the Washington Post notes has backed off promises to keep figures updated; Calderon's party faces elections this summer. More than 50,000 have now died since Calderon declared war on the cartels in 2006. A breakdown of the numbers:
- La Reforma, one of Mexico's most respected papers, counted 12,359 drug-related deaths, which represents a 6.3% increase over 2010. The figure dwarfs the 2,275 deaths it counted in 2007.
- La Reforma found that 1,079 bodies showed signs of torture, while almost 600 beheadings were recorded—up from 389 in 2010.
- The toll included almost 900 female fatalities; the Post notes that children have increasingly come under fire.
- Other newspapers cited similar numbers, with El Milenio counting 12,284 deaths, and La Jornada claiming 11,890.
Click through the photos for grim scenes from Mexico's year of violence, but please note that some images contain graphic content.