Mexico’s state institutions have been bedevilled for decades by widespread corruption and powerful transnational criminal organisations. Crime and the “war on drugs” have destabilised the country and fuelled violence; meanwhile, thousands of refugees and migrants flee through Mexico from similar volatility in Central America. Crisis Group focuses on addressing criminal violence, institutional corruption, trafficking and migration. Our aim is to help solve challenges to security posed by global criminal networks, local armed groups and the elusiveness of state rule.

CrisisWatch Mexico

Unchanged Situation

Claudia Sheinbaum won presidential election wracked by record levels of violence; President López Obrador set to enact controversial reforms before stepping down.

Claudia Sheinbaum won election amid record levels of violence. Ruling MORENA party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum 2 June won election with about 60% of vote, becoming Mexico’s first woman president. Chief opponent Xóchitl Gálvez 13 June formally contested results, alleging use of state apparatus to support Sheinbaum, unequal competition and organised crime involvement, though allegation unlikely to affect result. According to 4 June report by civil society organisation Causa en Común, these elections were most violent in nation’s modern history: thirty-seven candidates or aspiring candidates were assassinated during campaign period, while two voters were killed at polling stations. 

Criminal violence plagued multiple states. Insecurity remained rampant, partly as criminal groups sought leverage in upcoming negotiations with new govt. Notably, armed assailants 3 June killed mayor of Cotija town, Michoacán state; 17 June killed newly-elected mayor in Copala town, Guerrero state; 22 June killed outgoing mayor of Malinaltepec city, Guerrero state. Violence in Chiapas intensified amid rivalry between Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CNJG) and Sinaloa Cartel, with clashes 8-9 June forcing over 4,000 people to flee Tila town. Massacre in León city, Guanajuato state, 9 June left six people dead; CNJG denied role in attack as officials 14 June announced arrest of five National Guard agents for potential involvement. 

López Obrador vowed to press ahead with controversial reforms. Outgoing President LópezObrador 7 June announced plans to capitalise on Sept overlap with new MORENA supermajority in Congress to push through constitutional reforms. Among other things, López Obrador plans to introduce elections for judicial figures, dismantle autonomous public bodies and strengthen role of Armed Forces through National Guard; critics argue they could undermine checks and balances. Meanwhile, change to Amnesty Law enacted 14 June gave president authority to grant amnesty for any crime, including human rights violations.

Migration flows persisted at high levels. National Institute of Migration 16 June reported nearly 1.4mn irregular migrants traveling through Mexico Jan-May 2024. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 13 June criticised use of armed forces in migration control. 

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In The News

17 Mag 2024
Criminal violence [in Mexico] has become much more difficult to resolve today than six years ago. ... You can't expect a quick fix to the situation, it's too deeply ingra... AP

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico

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Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
Falko Ernst

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