Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives than murderers in Venezuela, reported Maria Eugenia Diaz from Caracas for the New York Times on August 22. Yet experts struggle to explain the reasons. “There have been 43,792 homicides in Venezuela since 2007, according to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a group that compiles figures based on police files, compared with about 28,000 deaths from drug-related violence in Mexico since that country’s assault on cartels began in late 2006.” Diaz continued, “Some joke that they might be safer if they lived in Baghdad.”
A strike from an unmanned aerial vehicle killed 20 people in Pakistan on August 23. According to Reuters news service, "missiles fired from a U.S. pilotless drone aircraft killed 13 militants and 7 civilians in Pakistan's North Waziristan." The attack, and the deaths, illustrate how the unintended consequences of policy decisions and operations conducted decades ago continue to shape events of the present.
Citing a statement from an aid worker in the Congo, an August 23 MSNBC report revealed that rebels in eastern Congo gang-raped nearly 200 women and some young boys during a four-day period between July 30 and August 3. The rapes took place only a few miles from a UN peacekeepers' base.
Communist China remains passive in pointing the finger at North Korea over the the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, seemingly giving the benefit of the doubt to the North. If a shooting war flares up on the Korean Peninsula, would China intervene militarily on behalf of the North, as it did in the Korean War?
The drug turf wars claimed another victim on August 18 in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Reuters reported security forces found the slain body of 38-year-old Edelmiro Cavazos near Monterrey, Mexico’s richest city, dumped on a rural road outside his town of Santiago.