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Mexico

CrisisWatch Mexico

Unchanged Situation

High-profile violent incidents continued, intensifying public debate and pressure on President López Obrador’s govt domestically and from U.S.. Nine members of Mormon family including six children, most with double Mexican-U.S. nationality, killed in attack 5 Nov on border between Sonora and Chihuahua states (north); govt said attack was mistake by armed group, but family said they had been targeted previously. U.S. President Trump offered cooperation to wage “war” on cartels, with other U.S. Republican politicians calling for U.S. intervention or special forces operations on Mexican soil; López Obrador rejected proposal, stating his non-violent approach to insecurity is working. Trump 26 Nov said U.S. would designate cartels as foreign terrorist organisations, prompting Mexican govt to warn against violations of national sovereignty. Opinion polls showed significant drop in López Obrador’s popularity. Violence continued in other regions. In Ciudad Juárez on U.S. border, 26 people were killed, 35 vehicles burnt, and four bomb threats received 5-8 Nov, allegedly by “Mexicles” organised crime group in response to state operation against it in local prison. Security forces killed seven suspected cartel members in Coahuila near U.S. border 30 Nov after group launched attack on Villa Union city hall. In San Vicente Coatlán, Oaxaca (south), five state police were killed in ambush by armed group 8 Nov, bringing the total number of police killed in 2019 to 333. Armed group 8 Nov set ablaze vehicles to block coastal highway of Guerrero state (south), close to community of Petatlán, which various non-state armed groups are competing over.  Plastic bags allegedly containing remains of four young men were left on road outside Celaya, Guanajuato (centre) 9 Nov, with messages reportedly signed by Jalisco Cartel New Generation and threatening enemy group “El Cartel de Lima”; competition between groups has made Guanajuato one of Mexico’s most violent states. Mexico offered asylum to Bolivian President Morales following his resignation (see Bolivia), leading to accusations govt was intervening in Bolivian affairs.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Jun 2019
Any blow to the Mexican economy will pour oil into the fire of conflict, accentuating reasons for people to flee, and undermining the deterrence effect of President Trump's anti-migratory policy. Twitter

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
4 Jul 2018
[In Mexico] you have civilians affected by extortion and murder, ... you have criminal groups fighting one another, for drug trafficking routes, extortion rackets, theft of oil. You have state security forces fighting criminal groups, which will often lead to shootouts involved in the security operations as well. And you have extrajudicial killings by state forces involved in the fight against organised crime. TRT World

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean
8 Feb 2018
The repression of riots and the looting of stores [in Mexico] caused at least six deaths and thousands of arrests. The World Weekly

Froylán Enciso

Former Senior Analyst, Mexico
30 Nov 2017
The new [Mexican] criminal justice system seeks to reduce impunity and violations of the rights of the accused. [If the president were to abandon them, he would] repeat the mistakes of his predecessor. The World Weekly

Froylán Enciso

Former Senior Analyst, Mexico
23 Mar 2017
The United States should recognise that its own economic and security interests would be well served by cooperation, not confrontation, with Mexico to tackle organised crime and corruption. Miami Herald

Mark Schneider

Former Senior Adviser
1 Mar 2017
Supporting the Truth Commission of Veracruz would be a good way to foster civil society initiatives in order to prevent violence and help to build democratic institutions in Mexico. Fronteras

Froylán Enciso

Former Senior Analyst, Mexico

Latest Updates

Mexico’s New Neutrality in the Venezuela Crisis

Bucking the U.S. and several large and influential Latin American states, Mexico has not recognised Juan Guaidó’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency, and has instead argued for negotiations to end the country’s crisis. As Crisis Group’s Senior Mexico Analyst Falko Ernst explains, this position is rooted in a new Mexican foreign policy doctrine.

Also available in Español
Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico’s New President Squares Up to High Hopes for Peace

On 1 December, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will assume Mexico’s presidency. He won pledging to end a drug war that has killed tens of thousands. But, as Crisis Group’s Mexico Senior Analyst Falko Ernst argues, he faces formidable challenges that will make it hard for him to uphold his promises.

Also available in Español

The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman

Researching how Mexico can uproot the scourge of organised crime, our Senior Analyst Falko Ernst befriends a doomed hitman on the run from his past. Talking to the sicario in the Michoacán underworld, he learns much about the deadly challenges the new government faces.

Building Peace in Mexico: Dilemmas Facing the López Obrador Government

With hopes for change sky-high, Mexico’s president-elect confronts endemic violent crime and state corruption. To make good on his campaign promises, his team should pursue justice in killings by state personnel, reform the civilian police and give robust mandates to truth commissions with victim participation.

Also available in Español

Mexico’s Southern Border: Security, Violence and Migration in the Trump Era

Mexico stops hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing northward to the U.S. Many are deported, and many more are stuck in the country’s south, vulnerable to crime and rising xenophobia. With U.S. and European help, Mexico should work harder to protect migrants and foster economic development.

Also available in Español

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Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
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