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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

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
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
25 Aug 2020
The impotence of Mexican government security forces has been made particularly evident in the events of the last few months. The New Humanitarian

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
2 Aug 2020
[The arrest of José Antonio Yépez] is basically a short-lived P.R. victory, but it doesn’t provide a solution. The big worry is that there is no backing in terms of a more cohesive security strategy. The New York Times

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
13 Jul 2020
While much of the narrative around violence in Mexico focuses on drug trafficking and cartels, the "on-the-ground realities are far more complex. Al Jazeera

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico
20 Apr 2020
But in Mexico, armed clashes between rival crime factions continued throughout March and early April, and 2,585 homicides were registered last month alone. The Guardian

Falko Ernst

Senior Analyst, Mexico

Latest Updates

Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico’s New President Squares Up to High Hopes for Peace

On 1 December, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will assume Mexico’s presidency. He won pledging to end a drug war that has killed tens of thousands. But, as Crisis Group’s Mexico Senior Analyst Falko Ernst argues, he faces formidable challenges that will make it hard for him to uphold his promises.

Also available in Español

The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman

Researching how Mexico can uproot the scourge of organised crime, our Senior Analyst Falko Ernst befriends a doomed hitman on the run from his past. Talking to the sicario in the Michoacán underworld, he learns much about the deadly challenges the new government faces.