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Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico

Crisis Group Role

Falko joined Crisis Group in July 2018 as Senior Analyst for Mexico. He is responsible for conducting research on the country’s lethal conflict and the challenges the incoming president faces, particularly as concerns the country’s many regional conflict settings and intra-institutional realities that underpin corruption and collusion by state actors. He provides field-based insights and recommendations, through reports and contributions to media, as to how these should be factored to make for sound security policy.

Areas of Expertise

  • Non-state armed groups
  • Organised crime
  • Criminal governance
  • Corruption
  • Latin America
  • Mexico

Professional Background

Falko has worked on criminal governance, organised crime-state-collusion, and new forms of conflict in Mexico and Latin America since 2010. As a PhD researcher in sociology at the University of Essex (UK), he lived in organised crime-controlled communities in Mexico. He went on to become a freelance researcher and author based in Mexico City, collaborating with Crisis Group, the Ford Foundation, the London School of Economics, and national and international media.

Prior to this, he worked as a research assistant in Germany’s federal parliament in Berlin, and completed a masters degree in Latin American area studies at the University of Passau, Germany.

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 contradictions. 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
23 Apr 2021
The approach of the current administration to insecurity, to the whole armed conflict [in Aguililla], has been silence. [López Obrador administration's] political calculation is that it’s better not to talk about it. LA Times

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico

Latest Updates

On the Front Lines of the Hot Land: Mexico’s Incessant Conflict

Mexico's crime wars are hottest in the hinterland. In this photo essay, part of a larger project on deadly violence in Latin America, Crisis Group expert Falko Ernst explains that the fronts are ever-shifting and the distinctions among combatants wafer-thin.

The Ukraine War: A Global Crisis?

The overwhelming support for a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion shows that countries around the world see it as attacking global norms. Yet policymakers also view the crisis in terms of their own national interest. Crisis Group experts assess the war from thirteen vantage points.

Also available in Español

Time to End the Lethal Limbo of the U.S.-Mexican Drug Wars

The failure of the “war on drugs” – now a welter of spreading conflicts – is a U.S.-Mexican co-production. Washington should stop pushing Mexico City to throw ever more military force at organised crime. Instead, it should help its southern neighbour find solutions tailored to each locale.

Also available in Español

Picking Up the Pieces after Mexico’s Criminal Siege

Shocking pictures from Culiacán show a criminal organisation forcing the Mexican state into submission. In this Q&A, Crisis Group Senior Analyst Falko Ernst explains why the mayhem should compel the government to revisit its security paradigm.

Also available in Español