The Center for Mexican American Studies 40th Anniversary Spring 2013 Speaker Series
Monday, April 8, 2013
M.D. Anderson Library
“The U.S.-Mexico Border, Drug-related Murders and the Peña Administration”
Tony Payan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas El Paso
Over the last decade, several border cities in Mexico have experienced a descent into murderous chaos. Among them, Ciudad Juárez has reached an unprecedented level of drug-related murders, reaching into 11,000, just in the last six years. Given this scenario, it is important to ask important questions on the variables that influence the rise and fall of drug-related murder rates in a border city. The main argument in this analysis is that the rise and fall in the murder rate appears to be much more influenced by ad hoc variables, including personality, perceptions, casual quarrels, and ambition, than by systematic variables, such as coordinated governmental law enforcement efforts to reduce drug trafficking, legal efforts to prevent money laundering, head-on attacks on cartel leaders or investment in social development. In fact, sometimes, the government’s strategies sometimes worsen the bloodletting. As the Peña administration has promised to focus on a violence reduction rather than a counter-narcotics strategy, these more accidental variables have to be considered.