On the surface, one might think progress in democracy has been made in Mexico due to the peaceful turnover of power this past election to the Industrial Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the period of time from 2000-2012 where the PRI was not in power. However, the effects of drug cartels and the PRI’s return to power hinder Mexico’s struggle to maintain a democracy without corruption and unrest among it’s people.
From a minimalist definition, Shedler argues that Mexico can not be considered a democracy because of the corruption in the electoral arena caused by “criminal enterprises”, or the drug cartels. Drug cartels take an interest in “shaping the dynamics of electoral competition” by funding or support candidates, attempting to drive out candidates from elections, and intimidating voters through violence and crime (Shedler). The increasing deaths due to organized crime have sky rocked from 1,304 in 2005 to 16,603 in 2011, and the constant threat of violence, kidnapping, human trafficking, and crime directed towards civilians calls for government action to protect their citizens and fight organized crime. However, with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto and the PRI, Mexicans have grown extremely unhappy with the lack of intervention and focus on human rights and security. It also brings about concerns regarding the persistence of democracy. The PRI ruled Mexico for over 70 years in an authoritative style, while being accused of electoral fraud and vote buying this past election (The Economist).
The political regime has come under question with two recent massacres preformed by the Mexican military and local police from Tlatlaya (Huffington Post). Both incidents were covered up by federal and local officials and both confirm suspicions that the “drug war” was a “cover for political repression” (Huffington Post). President Peña’s failure “to make security a priority” and use of “the police and the courts as enforcing political control” vividly illustrate the corruption Mexico faces and the lack of enforcement on security issues which are critical for a functioning democracy.
Clearly, the violence and corruption caused by drug cartels and the PRI’s return to power make the preservation of democracy in Mexico seem very unlikely.