Insecurity created by organized crime in Mexico forced the closure of more than 160,000 companies in 2011 alone, according to the country’s employers confederation Coparmex.
The warning, late Tuesday, came amid raging gangland-style violence across swaths of the country which is blamed for some 50,000 deaths since 2006.
“Organized crime is deteriorating competitiveness… discouraging national and foreign investment, (and) causing the closure of formal businesses. In 2011 alone more than 160,000 companies stopped operating in the country,” according to an online statement from Coparmex President Alberto Espinosa.
Companies were also being forced to pay higher insurance premiums, of up to 30 percent in badly-hit northern areas near the US border, Espinosa said.
“Insecurity in Mexico is reaching levels not seen in decades,” he added, lamenting that business leaders and families were leaving the country to seek security elsewhere.
Espinosa called for a revision of the anti-crime strategy of the government of President Felipe Calderon, which includes the deployment of tens of thousands of soldiers and been accompanied by a striking rise in violence in some areas.
He also criticized impunity seen in “98 percent” of crimes.
Just three months before general elections, the employers’ leader called for a new strategy and “clear promises” from the main presidential candidates. Calderon is constitutionally barred from standing for a second term.