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Attempts by a beleaguered security force to dismantle cartels and encroach on their vast territories are failing to stem the proliferation of violence in Mexico, according to Tim Holt, Head of Intelligence at Special Contingency Risks’ Alert:24, in his latest blog.


As a result, the ability of the Mexican cartels to project violence across the region, traffic drugs and kidnap for ransom remains a significant security threat, added Holt. Travellers, Mexicans and foreign nationals alike face significant risks as nationwide violence spills over from gang-related conflict.

Key highlights from the WillisWire blog include:

The new president Enrique Nieto’s policies are unclear – he may try to accommodate rather than confront the gangs. Meanwhile, the complexity, sophistication and fracture of the cartels will threaten the entire region’s security landscape, adding further instability.

Mexican cartels are becoming increasingly motivated by and interested in political power. The integration of gang-influenced individuals into state infrastructure is therefore likely to continue.

Officials estimate that drug-trafficking could constitute up to 4% of Mexican GDP, providing direct or indirect employment for a large proportion of its population.

While drug-related profits, corrupt and ineffective security, and the potential for political influence continue to incentivise gangs to fight for power, violence will go unabated