Shootout in Mexico’s Embattled Jalisco State Leaves 8 Dead

May 21, 2015

5/20/2015 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitA shootout between Mexico‘s federal police and alleged criminals has left at least eight dead in Jalisco state, in what could be a harbinger of more violence as security forces intensify their offensive against the Jalisco Cartel.

The gunfight took place on May 18 in the municipality of Villa Purificacion, the same town where the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) shot down a military helicopter using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher (RPG) earlier this month, reported Reuters.

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Fragmenting Criminal Gangs: Mexico Follows Colombia

May 19, 2015

5/18/2015 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitMexico’s security situation is looking increasingly like that of Colombia several years ago —  indicating that it might be possible to predict the future of Mexico‘s criminal groups based on what Colombia’s underworld is like now.

A new report by El Universal outlines how each of Mexico‘s largest criminal organizations has fractured in recent years, due to the capture or killing of high-profile leaders, as well as internal rivalries.

The report, based on information from Mexico‘s Attorney General’s Office (PGR), states that there are nine cartels now operating in the country, and an additional 45 criminal cells that work for these larger organizations, carrying out activities ranging from gasoline theft to extortion to kidnapping. These numbers were previously obtained from the PGR last year by Mexican newspaper Excelsior.

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Bloody Attack on Police in Mexico Raises Jalisco Cartel’s Profile

April 10, 2015

4/8/2015 InSight Crime

machine gunMexico’s Jalisco Cartel has reportedly killed 15 police officers in the Pacific state of Jalisco, a brazen act of violence that will most likely draw the wrath of security forces and may stem the criminal organization’s rapid expansion.

On April 7, Mexican authorities confirmed that the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG, for its Spanish initials) ambushed a police convoy and killed 15 police officers in the state of Jalisco, reported the BBC. Five additional police agents were reportedly injured in the attack, which took place on April 6.

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UPCOMING EVENT! U.S.-Mexico Relations, Security and Human Rights

March 10, 2015

mexico-usa-flag-montageWHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 4:30-6:00pm

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico has experienced an intense security crisis, organized crime wave and an explosion in violent crime. In the past, scholars, analysts, and media commentators have overlooked the central role of U.S. policy towards Mexico, instead framing the discussion in terms of a battle over territory and political control between drug trafficking organizations and the state.

While drawing on contemporary debates, this event will go beyond these often limited discussions about the causes and factors which have culminated in Mexico’s most violent period since the Revolution. In particular, it will consider the role of U.S. policy, including the extent to which Mexico’s struggle against organized crime and bilateral policy have affected the security situation, and will explore potential solutions to the crisis in an attempt to foster a new debate about the role of the United States in Mexico.

Chair:
Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Keynote Speaker:
Mónica Serrano, Professor, International Relations, El Colegio de México

Discussants:
Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Benjamin T. Smith, Associate Professor, Latin American History, University of Warwick

Mariclaire Acosta, Director, Freedom House, Mexico

For more information, click here.


NEW PUBLICATION: Violence and Insecurity in Guerrero

February 5, 2015

By Chris Kyle

Resilient Communities Series15This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Insecurity and violence associated with organized criminal activity are pervasive in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero.  The state’s homicide rate is the highest in the country and extortion and kidnapping are commonplace.  For perpetrators, there is near complete impunity.  The state is divided into territories within which either drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) or community policing networks exercise control over local policing functions.  Local, state, or federal authorities occasionally join this competition, but for the most part policing powers are held by others.  In rural areas competition between groups of traffickers over the state’s prodigious narcotics output has created violent no-man’s-lands in buffer zones between territories controlled by rival groups.  In cities violence is mostly a byproduct of efforts to establish and preserve monopolies in extortion, kidnapping, and retail contraband markets.  Despite claims to the contrary by state and federal authorities, there has been no discernible improvement in public security in recent months or years.

Restraining the violence in Guerrero will require that state authorities make a systematic effort to address two existing realities that sustain the criminal activities producing violence.  Thus, this paper examines the security situation in the state of Guerrero, including the operation of drug trafficking organizations, and proposes possible solutions to the security crisis.

Read the paper here.


Parents of Murdered Mexican Students Seek Justice at UN Watchdog

February 3, 2015

By Stephanie Nebehay, 2/2/2015

The Associated Press October 22, 2014

The Associated Press October 22, 2014

The parents of Mexican students believed murdered by a drugs gang appealed to the United Nations on Monday for help in seeking justice, saying they had no faith in the government’s ability to investigate the crime.

President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government said last week that the 43 trainee teachers who disappeared four months ago were killed on the orders of a drug cartel who mistook them for members of a rival gang.

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UPCOMING EVENT! The State of Citizen Security in Mexico: 2014 in Review and the Year Ahead

January 15, 2015

security_lockWHEN: Tuesday, January 20th, 2:00pm-5:30pm

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

2014 added new dimensions to the security picture. Despite significant reductions in violence in certain parts of the country, nine of Mexico’s cities ranked in the top 50 most violent cities worldwide, according to a study carried out last year by the Mexican organization Security, Justice, and Peace (Seguridad, Justicia y Paz). Meanwhile, the Mexican federal government intervened in Michoacán to address conflicts between vigilante self defense groups and local organized crime groups. The tragic killing and disappearance of student protestors in Guerrero, as well as the discovery of mass graves containing dozens of human remains, provoked massive outrage. Another, less measurable impact of organized crime-related violence has been the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Mexican citizens from their homes, as estimated by a number of human rights organizations.

To provide a careful examination of these security challenges, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host its Second Annual Mexican Security Review, a forum with leading policy analysts from the United States and Mexico from 2:00pm to 5:30pm on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Of particular interest will be the available indicators of crime trends, analysis of the specific policy measures of the Peña Nieto administration, and the efforts of civil society to confront recent security problems in Mexico. Speakers include Mexico Institute staff, David Shirk, Alejandro Hope, Steven Dudley, and others.

To RSVP for the event, click here.


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