International Development and Affairs, Culture, and Cross-Disciplinary Topics



Cartel Mexico: Continued Violence in 2017

Even after a two-year hiatus, the situation of violence in Mexico has continued. For those readers that have returned, thank you. For those who are just reading the “Cartel” series on AnthroPolitique, Welcome. “Cartel” is a series within AnthroPolitique that provides an overview of social, cultural, economic, and political situations surrounding organized crime networks, both present and past.

This week, we will return again to Mexico, taking a look only at the events that have occurred in the month of July 2017. “We are not even halfway through the month”, you may say. Unfortunately, in 2017, violence has left record murder rates in Mexico, with 2,186 murder investigations in the month of May 2017 alone and 9,916 in the first five months of 2017. As of today, July 11th, 2017, the following events have made headlines in relation to the ongoing drug and gang violence in Mexico:

In Mexico, massacre of family underlines surging violence
3 bodies found in condo parking lot in Mexico resort town


What does this mean?

Well first, it does not appear that either direct or indirect cartel violence has shied away from targeting families, religious leaders, students, and other innocent bystanders, in addition to any others that may be directly involved. What these particular headlines represent is the targeting of innocents – those that have either resisted the violence or are in some way linked indirectly to the events that have ravished Mexico since the crackdown on drugs under former President Felipe Calderon in 2006. While the rates of murder soar in Mexico, what is more, alarming is the number of “disappearances” that have continued since the disappearance of 43 students in September 2014.

As a glimpse of hope, I would like to highlight another article from the Los Angeles Times this week titled “One Mexican town revolts against violence and corruption. Six years in, its experiment is working”.

Inspired by this Cheran town example, next week we will take a look at how violence and terror from cartel conflict can be countered by breaking the link between crime, drugs, and politics.


For more information and alerts on Criminal Violence in Mexico, take a look at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Global Conflict Tracker:!/conflict/criminal-violence-in-mexico. Note that the current conflict status has been noted as “unchanging”.  

Stabilizing Haiti in 2015: Approaching Elections and Protecting Citizens

“The roots of discontent in these countries lie in their poverty”. – Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail

With elections less than a week away, Haiti’s progress amidst decades of extreme poverty and corruption may be on the horizon. This is not to say that the state’s stabilization will be an easy feat. Woefully dependent on UN and foreign assistance, Haiti remains one of the world’s poorest countries. With unemployment hovering around 40%, a literacy rate of less than 50%, and 80% of the Haitian population living below the poverty line, tens of thousands of Haitians have fled to neighboring Dominican Republic in search of work and opportunities. What Haitians have found instead is a status of statelessness. Due to various social and political issues that have emerged as a result of mass Haitian migration to Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic has increasing refused to recognize the citizenship of many Haitians who have migrated to the country, whether legally or illegally.

Keeping in mind the importance of political rights as essential for state development and citizen opportunities, reviving Haiti’s democratic institutions is a necessary move in order to take a step towards progress. Haitian elections to be held on Sunday, 9 August 2015 will be the first elections held since the devastating 2010 earthquake which left the country in shambles. Efforts to stabilize Haiti in 2015 will require the restoration of necessary infrastructures and democratic institutions in Haiti, following successful democratic elections.

A state unable to provide for its citizens within its territory is unable to protect the rights of its citizens outside of its borders. A successful Haiti will be a Haiti that can protect and provide rights to its citizens, within Haiti in the hopes of mitigating emerging issues of citizenship and deportation of Haitian nationals living abroad. With 2015 elections quickly approaching, the post-election period must be characterized by an international commitment to Haiti’s stability and a Haitian commitment to development in upcoming years.

Relevant articles:

Altholz, Roxanna and Laurel E. Fletcher. “The Dominican Republic Must Stop Expulsions of Haitians”. 05 July 2015. The New York Times.

Knox, Richard. “5 Years After Haiti’s Earthquake, Where Did The $13.5 Billion Go?”. 12 January 2015. NPR.

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