On September 26th, 2014, a group of 43 male students went missing in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, as they were traveling to a protest. Almost exactly a year later, the students remain missing and the only clue about their fate is the clear involvement of both the local police and the crime syndicate labeled “Guerreros Unidos”. This incident reignited the furor of both local and international media that question the state of Mexico’s democracy (Martínez Ahrens), along with experts that confirm democracy, expressed in the freedom of the press and the civilians, is in critical condition (Freedom House).
There are allegedly two causes for this state of democracy. The first is the institutionalized system of government that is about a decade shy of becoming a century old. It was developed and fortified over a 71-year period in which the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) held an autocratic control of the “democratic” elections of the nation. The second is the widespread presence of organized crime in the Federal state, especially the rural areas (like Iguala), which terrorizes the civilians, intimidates or controls the local governments, and runs the economy of many poor towns.
According to many experts (Shedler, O’Neil et al.) and observing the cases of the countries in the region who also suffer from organized crime, the answer to the situation could rely on plucking out said criminal organizations. According to them, the Constitutional model of organization of Mexico, which strongly reflects the legislative power of the United States (generally agreed among the best of world institutions), would be enough to launch a strong democracy, as long as the fear and effects of organized crime did not exist anymore. I disagree with this opinion. During the second half of the 20th century, PRI utilized its remarkable (in paper) creation to retain national power: the poorly established control of powers disabled the opposition and international entities from protesting the corrupted results of many elections. At the same time, they encouraged nationalist development in the country, which failed subsequently due to their corruption and international market crisis. Mexico would greatly benefit from removing the influence of crime organizations, but democracy would not be consolidated easier just like it isn’t now, and wasn’t in the past. It would require a whole reformation of the State to give democracy a safe development in this nation.
Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2014/mexico
Martinez Ahrens, Jan. 04 Oct. 2014. “La Muerte Anda Suelta En Iguala.” El País. Ediciones El País. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
O’Neil, Patrick H., Karl Fields, and Don Share. 2015. Cases in Comparative Politics. 5th Edition. Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Shedler, Andreas. 2014. “The Criminal Subversion of Mexican Democracy.”Journal of Democracy 25(1). http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Schedler-25-1.pdf