UPCOMING EVENT | Soaring Homicide Rates in Mexico: Understanding the Crisis and Proposing Solutions

pexels-photo-54512.jpegWHEN: Monday, May 7, 2018, 9:00-11:00am

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson Center

Click to RSVP

It is no surprise that crime, insecurity, and corruption are top issues in this year’s presidential campaign. Last year set a modern day record for homicides in Mexico – over 29,000. Why are homicides soaring in Mexico once again and, more importantly, what are the prospects for the future? Are there any new ideas for reducing homicides and increasing security in Mexico? What are Mexico’s presidential candidates proposing?

Join us for a discussion with leading experts on crime, violence, and security in Mexico.

Dr. David Shirk

Global Fellow, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
Director, Master’s Program in International Relations & Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations, University of San Diego
Director, Justice in Mexico

Dr. Rafael Fernández de Castro
Director, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego
Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Edna Jaime Treviño
Director General, México Evalúa

Dr. Cecilia Farfán-Méndez
Postdoctoral Fellow, International Relations, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego

Eric L. Olson
Senior Advisor, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
Deputy Director, Latin American Program, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP


3 men, apparently Mennonites, killed in northern Mexico

10/23/2017 Los Angeles Times

Three men have been found shot to death in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, and prosecutors say they appear to be members of the state’s Mennonite community.

The state prosecutors’ office said Sunday the bodies were found in the cab of a pickup truck with New Mexico plates in an area known as Campo Menonita 35. The men had been shot multiple times.

While the bodies have not been identified, the office said their appearance suggested they were Mennonites.

Murder Rate Climbs In Mexico, Even As The Government Celebrates El Chapo’s Recapture

1/21/2016 The Huffington Post

Intentional homicides in Mexico rose nearly 8 percent last year to 18,650, reversing a steady decline in the number of killings that authorities had trumpeted as evidence of improving security.

The data, released Wednesday by Mexico’s Secretariat of the Executive, seemed to validate those who have doubted the progress of security under President Enrique Peña Nieto, who this month has been celebrating the recapture of famed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

“2015 was not a good year,” former Mexican intelligence official Alejandro Hope said Thursday during a conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center. “At the current rate, there will be more homicides under Peña Nieto than under [previous President Felipe] Calderón.”

Read more…

This article mentions the Mexico Institute’s event “Mexico Security Review 2016: Assessing the Outlook for the Rule of Law.” Watch the video of the event here.

Mexico: As dangerous — and safe — as ever

crime sceneCNN, 6/9/2013

Violence in Mexico is back in the news and so is the perennial question: Is Mexico safe? In just the last few weeks there have been stories of 12 young people allegedly abducted in daylight from a Mexico City club; the death by beating of Malcolm X’s grandson, also in the capital; the kidnapping of a U.S. Marine reservist from his father’s ranch; the freeing of 165 people, including two pregnant women, who had been held prisoner; and the case of an Arizonan mom traveling on a bus who was arrested and jailed, accused of smuggling drugs.

That’s all before you look at the staggering toll of the years-long war between security forces and drug cartels — at least 60,000 people killed in drug-related violence from 2006 to 2012, according to Human Rights Watch. Other observers put the number even higher. Outside of war zones, more Americans have been killed in Mexico in the last decade than in any other country outside the United States, and the number of U.S. deaths jumped from 35 in 2007 to 113 in 2011. But those numbers do not lead to any simple conclusion.

Read more…

Reduction in violence with EPN, Barely Noticeable (Spanish)

crime sceneAnimal Político, 4/26/13

The reduction in homicides during the first few months of the Peña Nieto administration is barely noticeable. This is one of the conclusions of a report, “Evolution of Violence, Trimester Report 2013,” prepared by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), which points out that after comparing all registered homicides in the fourth trimester of 2012 with the first of 2013, violence was reduced a mere 0.6%.

Read more…

Weekly News Summary: April 12th

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

Last Friday, some 2,000 teachers protesting the education reforms proposed by the Peña Nieto administration blocked the highway between Mexico City and Acapulco for several hours. Federal policemen forced them off the roads, but future clashes are likely. Mexican officials announced homicide rates are down about 14% compared to the same period last year. Media outlets including the Los Angeles Times remained highly skeptical of such claims, and directed attention to the growing vigilante crisis affecting parts of the country, as well as the violence suffered by journalists covering organized crime.

Optimistic news pieces, however, continued to surface. Real Clear Politics referred to Mexico as a “stable, politically diverse neighbor.” American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies remarked that while “Brazil was everyone’s favorite two years ago, Mexico is now being hailed as a hot performer.” And in an article for The New York Times, Eduardo Porter argued Mexico’s austerity experience following the 1982 financial crisis holds lessons for struggling European nations today.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol and across the United States in support of immigration reform. A bipartisan bill led by eight senators – which Politico reports may be released next Tuesday – will define ‘border security’ as “100% awareness of when people cross the most trafficked sections of the Southwest border,” as well as the ability to stop 90% of unauthorized traffic. In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, the Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson argued that more attention should be placed on the “staffing, infrastructure and technology needs of ports of entry themselves” in order to secure the border and enhance America’s economic competitiveness. A conservative think-tank released a study arguing immigration reform would boost economic growth and reduce the federal deficit.

Continue reading “Weekly News Summary: April 12th”

Mexico government downplays deadly violence

crime sceneThe Los Angeles Times, 4/11/13

The new government claimed the homicide rate in February was the lowest single monthly toll in 40 months. However, the number, 914, was about 5% lower than Reforma newspaper estimates and did not take into account the month’s fewer days in calculating the comparison. Peña Nieto and his officials have deliberately sought to refocus attention on Mexico’s still sluggish economy and issues other than violence in hopes of burnishing the government’s image and attracting investment that would in turn finance ambitious domestic programs.

In many ways, the government propaganda campaign has succeeded. From Washington think tanks to local Mexican newspapers, many of which have been attacked or threatened by criminal gangs, a rhetoric has emerged that ignores facts and promotes discussion of the economy over violence.

Read more…