North America 2014: Mexican Drug War
The US responded to the September 11 attacks by declaring a “War on Terror” and invading Afghanistan, where Al-Qaeda was based. More controversially, it followed this up by occupying Iraq in 2003. Meanwhile increased security at US ports had helped turn Mexico into the main transit route of illegal drugs into the US. As the drug cartels became more powerful and violent, the Mexican government attempted to suppress them but with limited success.
7 Oct–17 Dec 2001 Operation Enduring Freedom▲
After the Taliban’s refusal to assist the United States in extraditing Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 Attacks, the United States began inserting special forces in Afghanistan in late September to coordinate with the Northern Alliance, the Taliban’s rivals. On 7 October the US began airstrikes against Taliban positions, allowing the Northern Alliance to retake northern Afghanistan and capture the capital Kabul on 13 November. By the end of December all the major Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan had fallen, bin Laden had fled to a hideout in neighboring Pakistan, and a new US-backed Afghan government was installed.
19 Mar–1 May 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom▲
Alleging that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, the United States formed a “Coalition of the Willing” to invade the country in March 2003. Although Coalition forces defeated the ruling Ba’ath Party by early May of that year, no such weapons were found, and a state of war continued to exist between the Coalition and domestic insurgent groups until US withdrawal in 2011.
29 Feb–1 Jun 2004 US occupation of Haiti▲
In Operation Secure Tomorrow, United States led a multinational force to end unrest in Haiti, remaining until a United Nations peacekeeping force could be deployed.
14 Dec 2004 Cuba-Venezuela Agreement▲
In the Cuba-Venezuela Agreement, Presidents Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela created the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA), a political organization aiming for social, economic and political integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2009, the name would be changed from “Bolivarian Alternative” to “Bolivarian Alliance”. Nine more countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—would join the alliance by the end of 2014.
23–31 Aug 2005 Hurricane Katrina▲
Hurricane Katrina hit southeast Louisiana, flooding 80% of New Orleans and killing at least 1,833 people.
11 Dec 2006–pres. Mexican Drug War▲
On 11 December 2006, the government of Mexico authorized military force against La Familia drug cartel in the state of Michoacán. Over the following three years, Mexico launched parallel attacks against cartels in Baja California, Sinaloa, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Quintana Roo. The operations had limited success and a broad insurgency exists throughout the country to the present time.
2 Apr 2007–30 Jul 2008 Subprime mortgage crisis▲
During a boom in housing construction, the bundling and improper rating of high-risk mortgages caused the United States bond market to crash in 2007. The ensuing financial crisis sent the US economy into the Great Recession, with the stock market crashing a year later.
12 Jan 2010 Haiti earthquake▲
On 12 January 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake near Leogane, 25km west of Port au Prince, Haiti, affected 3 million people, killing at least 100,000.