HomeNewsAnalysisMexico's Ascendant Political Party Could Lead Big Shift on Security
ANALYSIS

Mexico's Ascendant Political Party Could Lead Big Shift on Security

JALISCO CARTEL / 6 JUL 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A relatively new party in Mexico won big in a recent election, while the long-dominant political force suffered a crushing defeat. This new balance of power could bring sweeping change to the country's approach to fighting organized crime, but the promised radical reforms may not root out deep-seated criminality.

In the July 1 election, the National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional – MORENA), founded in 2014 and headed by now President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won control of several key governorships and the government of the capital Mexico City.

MORENA's victory came at the expense of a drubbing for current President Enrique Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional – PRI). The PRI failed to win any governorships, lost significant power in Congress, and its presidential candidate José Antonio Meade secured less than 20 percent of the national vote.

An analysis by the Spanish news outlet El País found that the PRI's losses were particularly significant in areas most affected by the record levels of violence Mexico has experienced during Peña Nieto's six-year term.

PRI spokesman Ramiro Hernández admitted that the party's defeat stemmed from its inability to stop rising insecurity and the damage its reputation has suffered due to accusations of corruption and ties to organized crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

The PRI’s retreat from power at the local and national level in Mexico could pave the way for big changes to the country’s strategy for tackling crime. Whether those policies will be successful is another question entirely.

The state of Jalisco, the base of operations for Mexico’s biggest organized crime threat, the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG), provides an example of how things could play out more broadly.

Jalisco has felt the weight of rising violence and insecurity that followed the emergence of the CJNG in 2010 after leaders of other powerful crime groups were killed or captured. Over the past several years, the local approach to combating organized crime in the Pacific state has mirrored the broader militarized approach used at the national level, which has proven unsuccessful time and again.

SEE ALSO: Jalisco Cartel - New Generation Profile

While MORENA won several governorships, Jalisco was not among them. Instead, the state will be governed by Enrique Alfaro of the Citizen's Movement (Movimiento Ciudadano) party.

Alfaro, the current mayor of Guadalajara, is reportedly under investigation by the United States for having links to the CJNG and allowing the group to expand on his watch. He has vehemently denied these allegations, but if they are true, it does not bode well for López Obrador's policies to succeed in a crucial area.

Whether or not Alfaro has ties to organized crime, as a member of a different political party, he will have some independence in terms of choosing whether to follow López Obrador's lead on security policy. While López Obrador did win a plurality of the vote in Jalisco, he only narrowly outperformed second-place finisher Ricardo Anaya from the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional – PAN), suggesting that voters weren’t completely sold on his ambitious proposals to reduce criminal violence, such as granting amnesty to drug traffickers.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Even if López Obrador is successful in implementing the policies he has proposed, it's not clear that they will actually work.

Jaime López, a security policy consultant and former Mexican police officer, told InSight Crime that López Obrador's proposals may sound impressive on paper, but in practice they could fall short of their lofty promises.

"There are a lot of factors at play in Mexico's homicide and security crises," López said. "I'm not sure he’ll be able to come up with a single strategy or policy that will get to the root of these issues."

"I don’t think López Obrador will be able to make any major changes to Mexico's fight against organized crime," he added. "These are structural issues, and it’s going to take more than just a good attitude."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 15 DEC 2010

"This report analyzes the rise in kidnappings of migrants who travel through Mexico and the apparent indifference of the Mexican…

DRUG POLICY / 5 NOV 2015

A ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court will allow four individuals to grow and possess marijuana for personal consumption, setting a…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 8 APR 2019

The swim bladder of an endangered fish caught only in Mexico nets tens of thousands of dollars in China’s black…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…