On Tuesday, February 12, after years of investigations and a 3-month long trial, famed Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán was finally found guilty on all 10 charges of his indictment. After over a week of delegations, in what is likely a sigh of relief for authorities in the United States and Mexico the jury finally revealed its guilty verdict to the court in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday. It is highly likely that the drug leader will be in prison in the U.S. for the rest of his life.
Enrique Peña Nieto
As Mexico’s July elections quickly approach, many are raising concerns regarding potential foul-play from Russia. In December of last year, the U.S.’s former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster alarmed Mexicans and internationals alike when he announced in a speech to the Jamestown Foundation in Washington that evidence of Russian meddling in Mexico’s elections had already been uncovered (Garcia & Torres 2018).
Just past 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 25, a family was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between gang members and Mexican marines in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. In what has been described by the marines as a series of ambushes by the criminal group, a total of nine people were brutally killed, and 13 injured. Included in these numbers were a mother, father, and their two young daughters, aged 4 and 6 (Univision).
Last Thursday, officials reported the recovery of the last known victim of Mexico’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, raising the total death toll to 369 (Wright 2017).
When many people think of the most devastating conflicts currently playing themselves out around the globe, they often jump to the war in Syria, Afghanistan or Yemen. Although Syria’s civil war did result in the most fatalities in 2016 (an estimated 50,000 people), the second-deadliest conflict occurred much closer to home and was accompanied by a shockingly low amount of reporting – Mexico’s drug war.
Earlier this week, the Mexican government announced the legalization of growing vigilante groups. The government came to an agreement with the vigilante groups to integrate into the already existing quasi-military groups named the Rural Defense Corps.
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán had long been a thorn in the side of the Mexican government. He made the Forbes list as one of the richest men in the world more than once, reportedly had operations in over 50 countries, and according to the US State Department, had long surpassed Pablo Escobar’s reach and influence with an untold number of corrupt officials at all levels of government working for him.
Over the last few years, inhabitants of the western Mexican state of Michoacán have been forced to evacuate, a difficult task considering the high proportion of livelihoods tied to agriculture, or adapt to an increasingly insecure environment. This insecurity is of course tied to the infiltration of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) which have permeated private and public spheres of everyday life in Michoacán by causing violence and instability, disrupting trade and commerce, and corrupting public officials if not holding office outright.
El 11 febrero de 2014, en medio de la polémica generada por las llamadas “reformas estructurales” que el presidente Enrique Peña Nieto estaba impulsando, el senado mexicano aprobó la Ley Antiterrorista en una votación apresurada, de esas que suelen denominar fast track.
Last week reporter Carmen Aristegui of the Mexican news station MVS was released from her position with the company. Aristegui is known for her reports on governmental corruption and is regard as one of the top reporters in Mexico. The firing comes several months after the reporter aired a report accusing President Nieto and his wife of corruption. Aristegui believes her firing was backed by the president and has announced that she will appeal her removal from MVS.