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

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.

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Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
Falko Ernst

Angélica Ospina-Escobar

Gender Fellow, Mexico
Angélica Ospina-Escobar

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