Violence in Mexico
Escalation of organized crime-related violence in Mexico that spills over into the United States
Mexico continues to experience high levels of violence as a result of illicit drug trafficking organizations and efforts to counter them. Criminal cartels—which traffic ninety percent of the cocaine that enters the United States—have killed an estimated sixty thousand Mexican soldiers, police, politicians, and civilians since 2006. Upon taking office in 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto promised to combat the cartels by improving law enforcement and public safety. Though official statistics show a drop in homicides, Peña Nieto’s claims to success are tempered by an increase in kidnappings and extortion cases.
2014 saw the arrests of several major cartel leaders, including most-wanted kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The United States has recently expanded military cooperation with Mexican armed forces, building upon the Merida Initiative partnership to battle organized crime. Still, Mexican law enforcement and criminal justice institutions remain deeply corrupt, leaving Mexico vulnerable to increased violence and the expansion of cartel-controlled areas. The disappearance of forty-three students in the state of Guerrero in late 2014 directed international attention to the deep links between violent gangs and local authorities.
A deeply embattled Mexican state could undermine U.S. efforts to halt the flow of Mexican migrants and contraband across the border. Moreover, the expansion of Mexican criminal networks into Central America and the Caribbean poses a grave threat to the already fragile region.
- Mexico's Bloody Drug War
- Mexican Drug Trafficking (Mexico's Drug War)
New York Times
- Mexico Under Siege
Los Angeles Times
- This Stunning Map Shows Tens of Thousands of People Have Disappeared in Mexico since 2007
German Lopez, Vox
December 9, 2014
- Changing the Game or Dropping the Ball? Mexico’s Security and Anti-Crime Strategy under President Enrique Peña Nieto
Vanda Felbab-Brown, The Brookings Institution
- Mexico’s Barbarous Tragedy
Enrique Krauze, New York Times
November 10, 2014
- Office of National Drug Control Policy: Mexico
- U.S. Relations with Mexico
U.S. Department of State
- 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
U.S. Department of State
- DEA Statement on the Arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
February 24, 2014
- U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation: An Overview of the Merida Initiative 2008-Present
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
May 23, 2013
- Mexico's Drug War
Brianna Lee, CFR.org Backgrounder
- Global Governance Monitor: Crime
- Taking on Mexico’s Corruption
Shannon K. O'Neil, CFR.org blog "Latin America's Moment"
November 24, 2014
- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Implementing Reforms in Mexico
CFR.org video "Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Implementing Reforms in Mexico"
September 23, 2014