HomeNewsBriefFormer President Fox Urges Mexico to Negotiate with Cartels
BRIEF

Former President Fox Urges Mexico to Negotiate with Cartels

MEXICO / 12 MAY 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, is urging the country's current administration to negotiate with drug cartels to put an end to rampant levels of violence, inserting himself into a deeply divided and unsettled regional debate about engaging with organized crime. 

In an interview with Carlos Marín, host of the television show El asalto a la razón (The Assault on Reason), Fox expounded on what he perceives to be the failure of the current administration to quell drug-related violence and the need "to negotiate and reach agreement with" cartels. 

"I am going to tell you something that I will get a lot of criticism for," said Fox. "But I would sit down to negotiate, to look for solutions with these cartels and these [criminal] types to see how we could reach an agreement so that they can stop killing one another and stop killing our youth." 

The former president specifically referenced the Mexican government's negotiations with Subcomandante Marcos, the infamous leader of an indigenous rights rebel movement in southern Mexico in the early 1990s, as well as the US government's longstanding tradition of using sentence reductions and plea bargains to work with criminals turned informants as precedent for his position.

Fox also suggested that current President Enrique Peña Nieto's decisions to deploy militarized security forces in an attempt to rein in violence has been counterproductive. His comments come as Mexico is seeing worsening security conditions nationwide.

Fox held office from 2000 to 2006 and was succeeded by Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), who was the first president to deploy Mexico's military in the so-called "war on drugs."

InSight Crime Analysis 

Fox made similar comments in 2011 calling for a more collaborative approach to engaging organized crime in an effort to reduce violence. He was widely criticized for the comments, with many commentators at the time suggesting a long history of détentes between politicians and powerful organized crime actors in Mexico is what allowed cartels to accumulate such power in the first place. 

However, the idea of developing a more diplomatic engagement strategy is gaining purchase in certain circles, with business leaders in violence-affected Acapulco advocating for a "pacification proposal" as recently as April 2016.  

Regionally, the question is unsettled. Currently, El Salvador is embroiled in a debate about the legitimacy of a 2012 government-facilitated gang truce, that has since unraveled. In Colombia, the possibility of initiating a demobilization process for powerful organized crime operations descended from paramilitary organizations is a controversial issue

Logistically, Fox's proposed negotiations would be difficult to orchestrate and any resulting agreements would be nearly impossible to enforce given the increasingly atomized nature of organized crime in Mexico. The vertically integrated cartels of the past have been largely replaced by a more horizontal power structure of loosely affiliated cells and chapters. 

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

MEXICO / 21 MAR 2011

The theories about why Carlos Pascual abruptly resigned this weekend as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico ranged from reports about arms…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 15 MAY 2017

Journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, one of Mexico's most prominent chroniclers of drug trafficking and organized crime, was shot…

AYOTZINAPA / 2 MAY 2018

The gruesome killing of three students in the state of Jalisco has raised fresh questions about Mexico’s capacity to effectively…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Criminal Enterprise on the High Seas

12 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an extensive investigation into Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that plagues the waters of nine Latin American countries. Among the stories were how…

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…