Violence and Mexico’s Struggle for Democracy

Mexico suffers from several challenges that hinder its success at maintaining a stable democracy. Although it may fit a procedural definition of democracy where it has consistent and competitive elections, its patronage system that continues to exist in the government continues to take away from a democratic spirit. The patronage system was developed to trade support for favors in the government and maintain national stability (Kesselman, Krieger & Joseph 424). Although this historically did maintain political order, it challenges true democracy. Additionally, the high inequality rates throughout the country act as a challenge to democracy because the poorest and most rural population are not equally represented in the government or do not have the same opportunity to become a political elite (KKJ, 441). Although these same issues exist in the United States, it still acts as a challenge to Mexico’s democracy and its democratic practices. The most significant challenge to Mexico’s democracy is arguably the violence and presence of the drug cartels as they pose a constant threat to the government’s stability, as well as present the opportunity to bribe and corrupt officials. The attempts by they military to persecute the drug cartels have only led to further lack of trust with the government as violence and corruption have let the people to fear the military instead of looking for protection.

This mistrust in the government due to violence and the presence of drug cartels have come to a global light after Mexico had a massive protest movement last year when 43 students were murdered. The protests shed light on the terrible violence that was occurring throughout the country and the power and corruption the drug cartels had over the national government. Because violence is so horrific, some professionals have argued that Mexico is a failed state (Taub, 2014). The organized crime in the country has so significantly hindered institutions that it has provided more room for drug cartels to grow and expand. Violence has started to affect Mexico’s economy as well because it is impacted its tourism industry and place a global mistrust in Mexico’s security and stability.


3 thoughts on “Violence and Mexico’s Struggle for Democracy

  1. Due to the violence in Mexico, I would agree that Mexico is not a stable democracy. The cartels have the influence, power, and money to threaten democracy. I would argue that democracy is not the “only game in town” due to the fact that PRI is back into power. Since the PRI are back in power I would argue Mexico more stable than when the PAN were in power because they worked with the drug cartels to reduce violence. The PRI’s system has worked better and will hopefully reduce violence to create a safer environment for the people of Mexico.

  2. Comment: Emelie has asked me to take a look at her class’ blog.
    This is an insightful paper. It brought up to light all significant, entrenched factors that define the struggle. Since 2000, when the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost its presidency to Vincent Fox, Mexico has been persistent in the pursuit of a stable democracy, but those factors – organized crime, corruption in government, inequality, drug cartel violence, drug trafficking, and drug cartels – just deny the objective.

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