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Crime organization in Mexico and its impact on democratic institutions

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Kendal G.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Analysis and Review of Past Sources
  3. Conclusion

Mexico's long road towards consolidating a democratic regime is wavering in its security due to the rampant growth and development of the organized crime in the country. As democratic institutions in Mexico have gained strength and made progress, so has the presence of organized crime in increasingly violent forms. The corruption and impunity associated with those behind the organized crime in Mexico seems to have left those within civil society already distrusting very basic democratic institutions. The specific ways that organized crime has led to a distrust in Mexico's democratic institutions will be evaluated in this paper. This paper uses data, past reviews, and research to analyze the dependent variable of organized crime and thus how it has affected democracy.

A clear definition of what a democratic regime and thus democratic institutions entail is necessary in order to properly evaluate the effect of organized crime. While there is not a broad sweeping definition that can be given to a democratic government, most political scholars would agree that two absolutely crucial components to any democratic regime are transparency and participation. In the article ?The Elusive Democracy? by Alberto J Olvera he states that ?the main spaces of democratization are the practices and institutions that define the relationships between state and society? (Olvera 80).

Prior to Mexico's movement towards democratic consolidation the political regime consisted of a long standing authoritarian regime that was marked by centralized governmental control in the hands of the president and a weak legislature. The authoritarian regime ensured its stability by implementing principles that would keep the legislature and judicial branches beneath the rule of the executive. For example, there was a mandatory three-year term without the possibility of reelection for all federal and state government officials.

[...] According to the chart there is a clear distrust in the government's ability to handle crime and even make just laws. It is not surprising that Mexican citizens are leaning towards vigilante justice when only a mere two out of ten people proven guilty of a crime are actually brought to justice (Moloeznik 11). Rule of law is an essential principle to democracy that seems to be diminishing from Mexico's political sphere. It seems that among not just Mexico's citizens but also its government officials there is ?high impunity and little credibility? (Moleznik 11). [...]


[...] If anything, organized crime has only increased now and spread to corrupt government officials. According to Moloeznik's article it is clear that the governmental distrust in regards to democratic institutions has as much to do with the initial growth of the democratic regime as it does with the presence of organized crime. Luisa Blanco's article Impact of Insecurity on Democracy and Trust in Institutions in Mexico? uses data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and the Encuesta Nacional Sobre La Inseguridad (ENSI) to analyze the impact insecurity and crime victimization has had on Mexico's satisfaction and trust of democracy from 2004-2010. [...]


[...] In addition to understanding what a democracy means in relation to this paper, one needs to understand the distinguishing factors for organized crime for applicability purposes. For the purposes of this paper organized crime will be defined with the characteristics of illegal activities carried out by criminal organizations at either a transnational, national, or local level. This paper will analyze what kind of effect, if any at all, organized crime in Mexico has had on the public's trust in its democratic regime. [...]


[...] It wasn't until 1988 when the public learned of massive electoral fraud that the Mexican government participated in, that Mexico took one of its first steps towards democracy. During this time Mexico began to experience changes that would affect its economy, foreign relations, and civil society. There was a push for regime change and civil society centered on the struggle for political rights, democracy, and the rule of (Olvera 83). However, the transition towards democracy struggled at the onset, slowly making only incremental victories. [...]


[...] The specific ways that organized crime has led to a distrust in Mexico's democratic institutions will be evaluated in this paper. This paper uses data, past reviews, and research to analyze the dependent variable of organized crime and thus how it has affected democracy. A clear definition of what a democratic regime and thus democratic institutions entail is necessary in order to properly evaluate the effect of organized crime. While there is not a broad sweeping definition that can be given to a democratic government, most political scholars would agree that two absolutely crucial components to any democratic regime are transparency and participation. [...]

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