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

Conflict Risk Alert

Ruling MORENA party’s presidential candidate on course to win June poll amid fears of violence on and around election day; U.S. and Mexico strengthened cooperation on migration.

MORENA’s Claudia Sheinbaum poised to win election amid high levels of political violence. Ruling MORENA party’s candidate Claudia Sheinbaum looked poised to defeat Xóchitl Gálvez of PAN-PRI-PRD opposition alliance in 2 June election, with over 20-point lead in polls (await next month’s edition for full coverage). Gálvez 13 May accused President López Obrador of influencing elections by openly supporting Sheinbaum from presidential podium; López Obrador 14 May rejected claims. Meanwhile, political violence remained rampant. Notably, armed individuals 11 May killed eight in Huitzilac municipality, Morelos state; state security delegate 17 May said 34.4% uptick in homicides in Morelos Jan-April 2024 compared to same period in 2023 owed to multiple crime groups seeking to influence elections. Attackers 16 May killed Partido Popular Chiapaneco mayoral candidate for La Concordia municipality and six others following campaign event. Unknown assailants 27 May attacked PRI mayoral candidate for Hueypoxtla. Violence could escalate on and around election day.

Criminal violence continued at high levels. After April witnessed highest number of homicides in 2024, with 2,349 officially recorded cases, armed confrontations and killings continued. Notably, in Chiapas State’s Chicomusuelo municipality, confrontations 10-14 May between Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel, two main groups competing for control of state, left eleven dead. In Michoacán state, army 9 May killed ten alleged Jalisco Cartel members in Tocumbo municipality. In Guanajuato state, search collective 16 May announced it had discovered 21 bodies in clandestine graves in Abasolo municipality.

U.S. and Mexico stepped up efforts to curb migration. According to data published 4 May, number of migrant detentions in Mexico tripled Jan-March compared with same period in 2023, though govt said overall migration had decreased. U.S. authorities 15 May reported that detentions at U.S.-Mexico border decreased by 6% in April compared to March, credited tougher measures introduced by Mexico. Announcement followed late April agreement between U.S. President Biden and López Obrador to strengthen collaboration on migration. 

Continue reading

In The News

17 May 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

Latest Updates

Our People

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
Falko Ernst

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.