Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.



Tensions ran high in lead-up to June elections as corruption allegations mounted, criminal violence continued, and Mexico severed ties with Ecuador following embassy raid. 

Former chief justice dismissed corruption allegations as politically motivated. Supreme Court 12 April announced investigation into former Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar, who stepped down from his position late 2023 to join campaign of ruling MORENA party’s presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum; court alleged Zaldívar pressured judges to vote in favour of govt during his four-year stint as Chief Justice. Zaldívar 16 April announced he would take legal action against his successor Norma Piña for using court for political purposes and electoral interference. Meanwhile, MORENA leader Mario Delgado 16 April said his party would bring charges against opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez for alleged corruption. Sheinbaum and Gálvez 28 April accused each other of belonging to “narco parties” during presidential debate.

Violence persisted at high levels. Political violence continued to intensify in run-up to elections. Notably, unknown gunmen 1 April shot dead MORENA mayoral candidate outside Celaya city (Guanajuato state). Criminal violence also continued, particularly in Chiapas and Michoacán states. Notably, security forces 15 April clashed with alleged members of Sinaloa Cartel in Acapetahua municipality (Chiapas); fighting between Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and armed self-defence groups over territory along border between Michoacán and Colima states displaced hundreds; and alleged CJNG members 23 April killed four in Centro Municipality, Tabasco state. Meanwhile, International Organization for Migration 12 April reported that number of irregular migration cases in Mexico had risen by 77% in 2023 compared with 2022, and that violence against migrants had escalated. 

Police in Ecuador stormed Mexican embassy, prompting Mexico to sever ties. Authorities in Ecuador 5 April forced their way into Mexican embassy in capital Quito and arrested Ecuador’s former VP Jorge Glas, who had been awaiting response to his political asylum request. Mexico 6 April severed diplomatic ties with Ecuador, while international community condemned incursion. Mexico 11 April brought charges before International Court of Justice, requesting that it suspend Ecuador’s UN membership.


As election season officially began, leading presidential contenders outlined their security policies amid uptick in political violence.

Mexico kicked off election campaign. Campaign season 1 March officially began, with leading presidential contenders 4 March outlining their security agendas. Opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez called for an end to President López Obrador’s “hugs, not bullets” policy, withdrawal of armed forces from policing and continued use of military for combatting organised crime. Ruling MORENA party’s candidate Claudia Sheinbaum vowed continuity with current administration, saying she would double down on social programmes to address root causes of crime and consolidate National Guard’s integration into army; she also proposed upping National Guard’s investigative and intelligence capacities while improving coordination between different levels of govt and with prosecutors. Meanwhile, López Obrador 12 March accused opposition of plotting “electoral fraud and a technical coup” with help of electoral institutions; head of Electoral Tribunal 18 March denied allegations.

Guerrero and Chiapas states witnessed more political violence. In Guerrero, unknown gunmen 3 March shot dead Alfredo González, mayoral contender in Atoyac town; MORENA candidate for mayoralty of Chilapa city, Tomás Morales, was killed 12 March. In Chiapas, Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate for mayoralty in San Juan Cancuc town found dead 14 March. Meanwhile, criminal violence continued, particularly in Michoacán state. Notably, landmine explosion 5 March killed three farmers in Tumbiscatío municipality; unknown gunmen 17 March killed and decapitated three police officers on road connecting Pátzcuaro and Uruapan towns; and armed group clashes 26 March erupted in Apatzingán municipality, terrorising local community.

Police in Guerrero shot student, sparking outrage. Police 7 March fatally shot student from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in Guerrero, same institution attended by 43 students that went missing in 2014. Police alleged student and several others were caught driving stolen car. Incident triggered violent protests. Authorities 13 March arrested two officers allegedly involved in shooting.


Killings of political candidates raised fears of an uptick in violence ahead of 2 June polls; ruling party faced criticism for constitutional reform package and allegations of ties to criminal outfits.

Assassinations of political figures raised fears of violent electoral season. As 2 June elections drew closer, unknown gunmen 15 Feb assassinated ruling MORENA party hopeful for local congress in Misantla city, Veracruz state (east), 26 Feb assassinated two MORENA mayoral candidates in Maravatío, Michoacán (centre); nineteen potential candidates killed since June 2023, majority from MORENA. Amid govt failure to prevent criminal influence in elections or implement protective measures for other candidates, fears abound that campaign season beginning 1 March will see uptick in political violence as groups battle over territory and state access. 

Critics accused govt of weakening checks and balances before poll. President López Obrador 5 Feb presented constitutional reform package targeting autonomous federal institutions he accuses of serving “neoliberal” opposition forces, including National Electoral Institute (INE). Tens of thousands 18 Feb protested in capital Mexico City voicing support for INE, while political opponents accused MORENA of trying to orchestrate election result by weakening checks and balances. 

Ruling party faced more allegations of ties to criminal groups. Following late Jan allegations that López Obrador received criminal financing for his unsuccessful 2006 presidential bid, armed group Los Ardillos alleged in 15 Feb interview that Los Zetas crime group also contributed to his campaign. Media outlet The New York Times 22 Feb published further allegations about links between drug cartels and officials close to president; López Obrador same day attacked paper’s correspondent and published her mobile number, 24 Feb claimed his “moral and political authority” is “above the personal data protection law”. 

Criminal violence continued. In sign of criminal groups’ increasing use of explosive devices, bomb-laden drone 7 Feb killed civilian in Gabriel Zamora municipality, Michoacán state. Meanwhile, church officials in Guerrero state 14 Feb said four bishops met with leaders of Tlacos and Familia Michoacana criminal groups in bid to halt rising violence; priest 22 Feb said groups had agreed to respect each other’s territories. Similar informal negotiations growing in high-conflict areas to address violence.


Criminal violence remained high, with LGBTQ community notably targeted; opposition accused President López Obrador of using govt powers to strengthen ruling party’s electoral campaign. 

Criminal violence persisted. Shootout between Jalisco and Sinaloa Cartels in Chicomuselo municipality, Chiapas state (south), 4 Jan killed twenty; fighting between groups during month displaced hundreds. Alleged members of La Familia Michoacana crime group 4 Jan attacked rival group Los Tlacos in desert area of Buenavista de los Hurtado, Guerrero state (south west), using drones and killing unconfirmed number. Gunmen 15 Jan abducted activist searching for her disappeared son and killed two of her family members at her house in Salamanca city, Guanajuato state (centre). Meanwhile, concerns grew over stepped-up violence in run up to 2024 elections as rival groups jockey for influence. 

Month saw number of attacks targeting LGBTQ+ community. Four transwomen were assassinated in first two weeks of 2024: attacks include 11 Jan killing of activist and Movimiento Ciudadano politician Miriam Noemí Ríos in Zamora municipality, Michoacán state (centre) and 14 Jan murder of activist and ruling MORENA party candidate for Senate Samantha Gómez Fonseca in Mexico City. Activists following day protested in capital Mexico City, calling on govt to take action. 

Critics accused govt of using state functions for campaigning. As 2024 presidential election edged closer, López Obrador 8 Jan announced doubling of pension payments and urged senior citizens to vote for party for benefits to continue. Use of state bodies and resources to campaign for MORENA is banned by constitution, and 47 such complaints against both govt and opposition are pending before National Electoral Institute (INE). Meanwhile, former head of recently dissolved state news agency NOTIMEX 9 Jan accused Labour Secretary of asking channel to divert 20% of employee payouts into campaign of MORENA presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum in return for kickback. López Obrador next day denied accusations, while opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez 11 Jan filed complaint with INE to investigate. Lopez Obrador 31 Jan rejected allegations that his unsuccessful 2006 presidential campaign received criminal financing. 


Criminal violence continued at high levels, govt faced criticism over reported number of disappearances, and President López Obrador called for disbandment of autonomous federal bodies.

Criminal violence remained rampant. Clash between La Familia Michoacan crime group and residents who reportedly resisted extortion attempt left four civilians and ten alleged criminals dead 8 Dec in Texcaltitlán town, State of Mexico (centre); at least fourteen people from area abducted by end of Dec in possible retaliation. Clash between Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels in Boquilla del Carmen rural area, Zacatecas state (north), 12 Dec killed six. Efforts to tackle criminal activities continued. Notably, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen 6 Dec announced Office of Foreign Assets Control had sanctioned fifteen members of Beltran Leyva crime group and two affiliated companies for drug trafficking. Govt 14 Dec arrested sister and nephew of Genaro García Luna, former public security official sentenced in U.S. for collusion with Sinaloa cartel, for alleged involvement in organised crime and money laundering.

Govt faced criticism for alleged deflation of number of disappearances. Govt 14 Dec announced it had identified whereabouts of around one third of 110,000 persons on national registry of disappeared persons through census conducted by Ministry of Wellbeing, claimed number of missing people is much lower than previously thought. Rights groups and community organisations searching for disappeared people criticised authorities for making neither methodology nor data public for independent verification, said Ministry is not mandated to do count and accused govt of reducing true number by not taking new cases into account and leaving some states out of census.

Critics accused López Obrador of removing checks and balances. President López Obrador 11 Dec said he would call on parliament to dissolve all autonomous federal bodies, including one that processes freedom of information requests; judges belonging to National Magistrates’ Association 13 Dec submitted complaint before Inter-American Court of Human Rights against attacks on its independence. President next day designated member of ruling MORENA party a seat on Supreme Court after no candidate received required two-third majority of congressional votes, raising concerns about Supreme Court’s independence.


Criminal violence remained rampant, govt faced more backlash for high number of disappearances, and ruling party healed split ahead of 2024 presidential election.

Criminal violence persisted at high levels. Authorities 13 Nov found Jesús Ociel Baena, second openly non-binary person to occupy magistrate position in Mexico, and partner dead at home; state attorney ruled incident murder-suicide but Ociel had received threats before, prompting rights groups, U.S. and Inter-American Court of Human Rights to call for full investigation. Meanwhile, security forces 3 Nov killed four members of alleged criminal group in Celaya city, Guanajuato state (centre), while another clash 11 Nov left three police officers and three suspected crime group members dead in Zacatecas city, Zacatecas state (centre). Armed assailants 19-22 Nov abducted three journalists and two relatives in Taxco, Guerrero state (south west). Armed men 28 Nov shot at four journalists returning from murder scene in Chilpancingo city, Guerrero state (south), injuring three; another journalist same day was also shot and injured in Michoacan state. Gunmen 21 Nov killed prominent activist documenting murders in León city, Guanajuato. Security forces 22 Nov captured alleged security chief for Sinaloa cartel faction in Culiacan, Sinaloa state (west).

Govt continued to face criticism for high number of disappearances. Former head of National Search Commission Karla Quintana 7 Nov accused govt of attempting to deflate official number of missing persons from 113,000 by using data from bodies other than official Search Commission; President López Obrador 13 Nov accused Quintana of manipulating data to discredit govt.

Ruling MORENA party presidential candidate and former FM reached agreement. Former FM Ebrard, who came second to Claudia Sheinbaum in internal MORENA vote to select presidential candidate, 13 Nov announced he would not leave party or run as independent in 2024 polls after “political agreement” with Sheinbaum.

In other important developments. Opposition forces and some MORENA members 7 Nov criticised govt over lack of budget allocation for areas affected by Hurricane Otis, which caused $16bn worth of damage. Caravan of hundreds of migrants 5 Nov left Tapachula city, Chiapas state (south) on journey toward U.S. border.


Criminal violence remained rampant, govt and security forces faced more backlash for high number of disappearances, and Hurricane Otis wrought destruction in Acapulco city.

Criminal violence, some of it politically motivated, remained high. Bodies of two pollsters from ruling MORENA party were found dead in Tabasco state 1 Oct, alongside message from Jalisco Cartel accusing MORENA and army of protecting rival Sinaloa Cartel in Chiapas. Guerrero state (south west) witnessed several high-profile attacks. Notably, unidentified gunmen 17 Oct killed prominent self-defence group leader Bruno Plácido and his driver in state capital Chilpancingo; and armed men 18 Oct attacked priest and victims’ rights activist Filiberto Velázquez in Tixtla town. Attacks came after 1,500 members of 66 communities from San Miguel Totolapan and Heliodoro Castillo municipalities 3 Oct announced creation of armed self-defence group amid state inertia. Three separate attacks in Coyuca de Benitez municipality (Guerrero), Tacámbaro town (Michoacán state) and San Miguel Cano (Puebla state) 23 Oct left at least 24 dead, including 13 police officers.

State faced more criticism for high number of disappearances. UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances 3 Oct lamented “alarming” number of disappearances in Mexico and “almost absolute impunity”. Group of experts investigating 2014 disappearance of students from Ayotzinapa teacher’s college 17 Oct released documents allegedly showing military had knowledge of crime as it unfolded; govt continued to deny military’s involvement or collusion. Meanwhile, search collective 2 Oct said clandestine burial site found in Tacámbaro likely contains more than the 51 bodies already found, largest identified in state in recent years; another collective 15 Oct reported discovery of clandestine human incineration site containing human remains in Tlaquepaque city, Jalisco state (centre).

In other important developments. Govt and U.S. officials 5 Oct held high-level security talks in Mexico City about fentanyl trafficking, migration and arms trafficking, and agreed to collaborate closely. Acapulco city (along Pacific Coast) was among areas worst hit by Hurricane Otis late Oct, raising fears that organised crime could capitalise on destruction and insufficient govt response to strengthen foothold in area.


Criminal violence remained rampant, political parties announced presidential candidates in upcoming election, and authorities spotlighted uptick in migration.

Violence continued at high levels. In Guerrero state (south), armed men purportedly belonging to La Familia Michoacana criminal group 9 Sept shot dead state attorney Víctor Manuel Salas Cuadra in Coyuca de Catalán city; unknown assailants 12 Sept shot dead federal attorney’s office representative Fernando García Fernández in state capital Chilpancingo. In Tamaulipas state (centre), navy troops 4 Sept killed four alleged aggressors in Matamoros city; four civilians also injured. In Sinaloa state (centre), clashes 8 Sep between criminal groups killed five in El Rosario town. Govt 25 Sept sent 1,500 troops to Frontera Comalapa region of Chiapas state (south) following media reports of fighting between Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels. Meanwhile, govt 15 Sept extradited Ovidio Guzmán, son and principal heir of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán, to U.S. on organised crime and fentanyl trafficking charges.

Parties selected female candidates for 2024 presidential election. Ruling MORENA party 6 Sept announced former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as party’s candidate for poll. Former FM Ebrard, who came second in internal vote, raised concerns over irregularities and asked for re-run; President López Obrador next day backed Sheinbaum’s candidacy. With opposition block Frente Amplio por México late Aug announcing Xochitl Galvez as its candidate, 2024 race will mark first time two women compete for Mexico’s highest office.

Migration flows increased. Migratory authority 14 Sept said it expected to receive record 150,000 asylum claims during 2023, noting uptick in arrivals during Aug and Sept, particularly from Cuba, Haiti and Honduras. Authorities same day found 350 Central American migrants in trailer suffering from oxygen shortage in Veracruz state (east). International Organization of Migration 12 Sept announced 686 deaths in 2022 by persons trying to cross Mexico-U.S. border, making it most lethal land migration route worldwide.


Criminal violence continued at high levels amid rising discontent over govt handling of disappearances; tensions with U.S. simmered over fentanyl crisis.

Growing number of disappearances raised concerns. Though National Institute of Statistics and Geography report late July said 2022 marked lowest homicide rate in Mexico since 2017, rising number of disappearances underscored persistently high levels of insecurity. Notably, five youths 11 Aug disappeared from Lagos de Moreno city in Jalisco state (centre). Four days later, video surfaced in media allegedly showing victims being forced to kill one another; video reportedly attributed to MZ faction of Sinaloa Cartel, which is in competition with Jalisco Cartel New Generation for control of drug trafficking and fuel theft in area. Case triggered alarm, with opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez 16 Aug announcing suspension of campaign activities for 24 hours. Head of National Search Commission 23 Aug resigned amid growing frustration with govt’s handling of disappearances, further underscored by late July decision of independent investigators to end probe into 2014 disappearance of students from Ayotzinapa college due to lack of collaboration from authorities. Some 200 protesters 30 Aug took to streets in Mexico City to mark International Day of the Disappeared, chanting “Where are our children” and calling for more concerted govt efforts to locate missing persons.

Attacks on state forces and civilians continued. Coahuila’s Prosecutor’s Office 1 Aug announced detention of “criminal leader” who could be responsible for series of late July attacks on police checkpoints in Coahuila state (north). Army 22 Aug said cartels are increasingly deploying roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with 42 soldiers, police and suspects wounded by IEDs in 2023, up from 16 in 2022. Cartels in Michoacán state (centre) late Aug burnt trucks and shops and blocked roads, prompting govt 28 Aug to send 1,200 troops to quell uptick in violence.

Frictions with U.S. over fentanyl crisis simmered. Tensions between Mexico and U.S. over responsibility for fentanyl drug crisis continued to rise; U.S. officials blame Jalisco Cartel New Generation and Sinaloa Cartel for production and trafficking of fentanyl, while Mexican govt claim country is only transit route.


Criminal violence remained rampant, while President López Obrador’s attacks on opposition front runner in 2024 presidential poll prompted condemnation from electoral authorities.

Criminal groups stepped up attacks on state forces, increasingly using explosives. Gunmen 3 July shot at interior minister of Tamaulipas state (north) on main road, though official was unharmed. Criminal group Los Ardillos 10 July orchestrated thousands-strong protest in Chilpancingo city, Guerrero state (south west), over arrest of two of its members; protesters blocked main roads, forced their way into state legislature and took 13 police officers and officials hostage, released them following day. Several improvised explosive devices (IED) in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga city, Jalisco state (centre), 11 July killed four police officers and two civilians; Jalisco Cartel dominant in state has increasingly used IEDs in neighbouring Michoacán.

Attacks on journalists and disappearances continued. Police 8 July found body of Luis Martín Sánchez Iñiguez, local correspondent for La Jornada newspaper, in Huachines town, Nayarit state (west); unidentified armed group 15 July killed reporter Nelson Matus in Acapulco town, Guerrero. Meanwhile, civil society organisations from Caborca and Pitiquito municipalities reported 1-2 July clashes between Sinaloa Cartel and rival Caborca group resulted in at least 15 disappearances and three deaths; collective known as Madres Buscadoras, which searches for disappeared, 4 July said it had uncovered clandestine graves containing dozens of bodies in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga; another search collective 14-15 July found bodies in graves in Reynosa city, Tamaulipas; UN 27 July accused army of obstructing investigation into 2014 disappearance of students from Ayotzinapa teacher’s college.

López Obrador railed against key contender in 2024 presidential election. President López Obrador’s continued criticism of opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez in daily press conferences prompted National Electoral Institute 13 July to issue order prohibiting him from commenting on electoral matters. López Obrador next day accused electoral authorities of trying to “silence” him and reiterated claims he had gathered information about public contracts awarded to Gálvez, saying he would seek judicial investigation.

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