Mexico

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

Authorities stepped up military control over policing amid persistently high levels of criminal violence.

Authorities took steps to deepen militarisation of public security. Govt proposal to formally integrate National Guard into defence ministry 9 Sept came into effect. Civil society groups same day condemned decision, with NGO Amnesty International saying increased military involvement in public security would “lead to more human rights violations and perpetuate impunity”. Responding to accusations he broke campaign promise to demilitarise public security, President López Obrador 6 Sept claimed he had changed his mind after realising gravity of security situation. In response to López Obrador’s move, protests 6, 15, 17 Sept took place in Mexico City. Meanwhile, lower house 14 Sept passed constitutional amendment, proposed by opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, allowing armed forces to carry out public security tasks until 2028 instead of 2024. Senate 20 Sept approved amendment with 18 votes in favour.

Criminal violence remained high. Unidentified gunmen 22 Sept opened fire in bar in Tarimoro town, Guanajuato state (centre), killing ten. Unknown assailants 25 Sept ambushed police officers in Cañitas de Felipe Pescador municipality, Zacatecas state (centre north), injuring five. Meanwhile, advocacy group Global Witness 29 Sept released report on threats to environmental activists, showing that Mexico recorded highest number of killings of any country in 2021, totalling 54.

Efforts to address impunity for past disappearances continued to face challenges. General Prosecutor’s Office 25 Sept cancelled 21 of 83 arrest warrants it requested last Aug against former officials allegedly involved in 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, Guerrero state; judge 14 Sept acquitted José Luis Abarca, former mayor of Iguala, of having ordered students’ kidnapping. Authorities 15 Sept arrested General José Rodríguez Pérez, then commander of local infantry battalion, for allegedly ordering killing and disappearance of six of the students; Rodríguez Pérez is first high-ranking military officer arrested in case.

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In The News

21 Apr 2022
Every group [in Mexico] I've ever talked to claims that they don't extort, kidnap or kill innocent people... These claims are, from my experience, never free of contradic... CNS

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
14 Mar 2022
There is no category in international law for the violence and conflict that’s plaguing Mexico, and especially Michoacán. Vice

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
4 Mar 2022
There is always an element of negotiation when you use [violence] against the state. InSight Crime

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
31 Jan 2022
What makes such a wave of journalist killings [in Mexico] possible is that criminal interests … are almost never properly investigated or punished. The Guardian

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
1 Jul 2021
The problem in Mexico is still being reduced by most as a turf war between cartels, while it is more of an internal violent conflict. The New Humanitarian

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
8 Dec 2020
Cartels’ brand names fade away eventually. [But] all of those [other] networks stay in place. The Guardian

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico

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Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
Falko Ernst

Angélica Ospina-Escobar

Gender Fellow, Mexico
Angélica Ospina-Escobar