HomeNewsBriefUS Demands Mexico Double Down on Hardline Anti-Drug Approach
BRIEF

US Demands Mexico Double Down on Hardline Anti-Drug Approach

MEXICO / 23 SEP 2020 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

The United States is calling for authorities in Mexico to intensify their crackdown on organized crime groups, doubling down on strategies that have failed to produce any meaningful security gains over the last 15 years.

US President Donald Trump delivered a memorandum to the Secretary of State on September 16 that said while there have been “signs of progress” regarding Mexico’s anti-crime fight, “more must be done.”

“These cartels present a clear threat to Mexico and the Mexican government’s ability to exert effective control over parts of its country,” the president said. “Mexico must clearly demonstrate its commitment to dismantling the cartels and their criminal enterprises and do more to protect the lives of Mexican and American citizens threatened by these groups.”

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The annual memo comes in the context of increased US pressure on the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In the last year alone, President Trump has threatened to designate Mexico’s criminal groups as terrorist organizations and send in US troops to “clear [them] out.”

President López Obrador has rejected these escalations but has so far been unable to get a grip on spiraling violence in the country. If current trends hold, 2020 will close with yet another record number of homicides.

“Unless the Mexican government demonstrates substantial progress in the coming year backed by verifiable data, Mexico will be at serious risk of being found to have failed demonstrably to uphold its international drug control commitments,” President Trump threatened.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite sprinkles of praise for asset forfeiture reforms and increased extraditions, President Trump’s tough talk highlights just how out of touch he is with Mexico's security dynamics and the urgent need for innovation.

From immigration enforcement to cracking down on social movements, the United States has long encouraged and supported hardline measures in Mexico. The same holds true for the fight against organized crime.

Washington has poured billions of dollars into Mexico’s anti-crime fight through programs like Plan Mérida, launched in 2008 to tackle arms trafficking and drug smuggling, among other things. Undermining these efforts in part are corrupt top-level officials that the United States has been willing to work alongside despite strong indications they were compromised.

SEE ALSO: Three Massacres Expose Weakness of Mexico’s ‘Catch-all’ Security Policy

But while government officials in both countries have shown little interest in changing course, scores of academics, researchers and investigators are searching for a new understanding of Mexico’s drug and security dynamics.

In July 2020, for example, Noria Research launched the Mexico Opium Network, a data-driven approach to “systematically increase understanding” and “gather robust empirical data on the opium market and its stakeholders.”

The collective of researchers and analysts has also launched a long-term project to produce a detailed analysis of local dynamics -- historical, political and social -- driving violence across Mexico using field-based research.

“Violence must be understood as a social and political phenomenon, not as spontaneous reaction or an individual, isolated issue,” according to the announcement.

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

CHINA AND CRIME / 14 APR 2022

The full threat posed to Mexico's biodiversity by both Mexican and Chinese organized crime networks has been revealed in a…

FENTANYL / 9 NOV 2021

A recent seizure of fentanyl in Mexico has shed further light on the capacity of organized crime groups to mass-produce…

MEXICO / 9 JUN 2021

Over 90 percent of active personnel in Mexico’s National Guard remain uncertified two years after the police body’s creation, marking…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…