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Mexican Politics, Culture and Drug Wars Research Paper

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Updated: May 21st, 2020


Mexico is a democratic country, whose democracy arose from the elections conducted in 2000, which brought about sharing of power in the government and a more transparent nation. Proliferation and forwarding of agendas by strong grassroots organizations to the forefront of political interests has rubbed the authorities the wrong way.

The democracy change increased the labor unions in the country. However, majority of these labor unions are co-opted by the government although the independent ones have become vigorous in protests.

Despite the welcoming news of a democratic state and transparent elections, more still needs to be done to straighten up the moral, political and social decay that have engulf the country. Corruption in institutions, weak judicial system, drug wars and the disparity between the rich and the poor are just but a few of the complex problems that are facing Mexico, and whose solutions are yet to be found. Moreover, social movements have arisen from strident voices that test the government’s commitment to change (Foster, 2010, p 241,242)

Foster suggested that political assassinations, uprisings, and high levels of corruptions are some of the factors that siphoned the country’s energy despite the country pushing for democracy (Foster, 2010, p 223).


The 10-year civil war of Mexico that lasted from 1910 to 1920 is believed to be the key that opened up the doors to the new constitution of 1917. It is approximated that more than 2 million people died because of the war. New political structures were created and the birth of mestizo nation was delivered.

The revolution that started at that time destroyed feudalism as labor unions were created, and in addition to this, the revolution gave the people a sense of belonging and pride for their own culture which was referred to as mexicandad (Foster, 2010, p 161)

In the 1980s, the Mexican economy was contracting by 6% annually due to international debts. Upon negotiations, the Mexican government committed 53% o its federal budget to the repayment of the debt. This meant no economic growth was to be expected in Mexico in the following decades. The fallouts both politically and socially were enormous; indeed, this period is stated to be the most demoralizing period in Mexican history as majority of Mexicans suffered due to increase to food prices (Foster, 2010, p 215)

The PRI party had been the ruling party and in 1988, it faced its first challenge politically from Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The country during that time was facing recession and the IMF due to repayments of debts undertook its fortunes. Support for the PRI party decreased from populist groups as clamor for democracy went a notch higher and criticisms mounted by the public on PRI took toll when one key member o//74f the party abandons the party. PRI party later won the presidency amid calls of rigging (Foster, 2010, p 223-224).

The first president who was not a member of PRI was elected in July 2, 2000 in an election that was termed as a transparent and democratic. The PRI members cried foul as they fought amongst themselves. The results were declared as Mexico’s victory as they ushered in democracy in Mexico. Although the PRI party had been defeated, it was thanks to the combined efforts of the opposition parties (Foster, 2010, p 242)

The politics of Mexico however have been clouded by corruption brought about by the drug cartels. Raul Salinas, the brother to the former president of Mexico is said to have been arrested because of his participation in the covering up of Ruiz Massieu’s murder. His access to his brother made many to believe that the president was involved in one way or the other. This just indicated how far the levels of corruption could spread within the Mexican politics (Kirkwood, 2010, p 202)


The aesthetic realm and the culture in politics are the two cultural complexes that attract foreigners to Mexico. The philosophers and the intellectuals of the nineteenth century were obsessed with the fascinating combination of barbarism and civilization (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p1).

According to Joseph and Henderson, the murals painted on walls of public ministries and the evocative woodcuts of Posada, were all a powerful appeal to tourists (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p2). Mexico being an extraordinary and unique country has the potential of shedding light on major problems facing it as a developing country once its culture, history, and politics have been examined (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p4).

The Spaniard are said to have introduced new races in Mexico in the course of their colonization. An example of these races was the usage of the Blacks and the Indians to create a race. This mixture of races contradicted the ultimate goals of history of attaining cultures and fusion of people. Joseph and Henderson continue to state that by constructing an English world and doing away with the Indians to have a Northern Europe filled with Whites is one way of combating race (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p17).

Religious cultures and cults are also part of the Mexican way of living. It stated that any Mexican Catholic is focused on the cult of the virgin of Guadalupe. The symbolic meaning this conquest of the two gods meant indicated to the faithful that they should return to their ancient feminine deities (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p24, 25).

Westernization of the Indians was termed as contradictory. This is because a clear line had to be drawn between the colonized and the colonizers. The colonial domination would have ceased to be if the Indians were to be fully incorporated into westernization; indeed, difference and segregation are termed as the basics of colonization.

In the nineteenth century, the birth of an independent Mexico state was directed along the path of civilization. Moreover, the independent nation was culturally homogenous when it was conceived (Henderson, Joseph, 2002, p30).

At the end of the Revolution, the new political leaders sought ways of unifying the various ethnic groups of Mexico into a national project. In Mexico, ethnicity is basically defined by the culture and not biological; by use of linguistic it has been found that there is approximately 60 different Indian ethnic groups in Mexico thus making their incorporation difficult (Buffington, Pasztor, Coerver, 2004, p17).

Drug wars

Drug trafficking has been a hot topic in Mexico both domestically and internationally. Although the drug trafficking was a problem in the twentieth century, it escalated even more in the twenty-first century. It is stated that as early as the 1920s, some Mexican workers located southwest in U.S. were associated with the use of marijuana.

In addition to this, Mexico produced heroin and was shipment point for other drugs. U.S. drug agents were said to be operating in Mexico informally from as early as 1940s, while growing demand of drugs in the U.S. escalated the drug trafficking in1960s thus causing a concern to Mexico both internationally and domestically. In the long run, the drug trafficking complicated issues like trade and immigration.

The “operation intercept” that was a detail inspection conducted by the U.S. officials on vehicles crossing the international boundary resulted into chaos thus forcing the Mexican government to resolve to a permanent war on drugs. Despite efforts put in place by both the U.S and Mexican governments, the drug trade thrived in the 1980s (Buffington, Pasztor, Coerver, 2004, p145).

Increase in consumption of drugs in Mexico and drug related corruption in the law enforcement and political scenes led the country in the verge of being branded a “narco state.” The drug trade took a completely new level with the death of cardinal Ocampo in1993, who had condemned the drug trade and the assassination of Colosio, the presidency candidate of the official party, in1994.

Involvement of key political persons in drug trafficking was evident in the investigation of Raul Salinas: the older brother of the former president of Mexico Carlos Salina. The investigation upon conclusion in 1998 indicated that part of the money owed by Raul was associated with drug pay-offs (Buffington, Pasztor, Coerver, 2004, p146, 147)

Military involvement in curbing the drug trafficking has not yield much success as incidents of bribe taking are evident. Optimistic officials both in the U.S. and in Mexico concur that the war on drugs is far from being won. This is due to the shifting of bases and routes by the drug cartels resulting from pressure from the authorities. One thing that is clear is that drug trafficking will continue to be a menace even in the twenty-first century (Buffington, Pasztor, Coerver, 2004, p 147)

Kirkwood indicates that violence in the state of Durango has escalated and murder has increased, with 235 murders reported between January and May the year 2009. The fighting between the various drug cartels caused these murders and violence.

However, the alarming issue is that the federals that are entitled with the responsibility of curbing this menace are having a life span of six months before they are corrupted by the drug cartels. The level of corruption is evident from the arrests conducted in May 2009 of 27 government officials, a police chief, 10 mayors, a judge, and a former police chief.

Power, influence, and resources are some of the factors that drug cartels have over authorities, which is evident from the escapes that have been propagated by the drug cartels. The astonishing issue is that the drug trade has penetrated the Catholic Church with allegations of donations offered to the church by the drug lords. Indeed, legalizing of some drugs e.g. marijuana is been considered in order to curb drug trafficking (Kirkwood, 2010, p 217, 218)

During the presidency of Fox, efforts of addressing the escalating drug production were stepped up and the number of arrests associated with drugs escalated.

It is approximated that about 50,000 arrests were conducted as the authorities also destroyed marijuana fields in a bid to curb the drug trade. However, the government also faced embarrassing moments with the news of the drug cartels leaders escaping from jail. In response to the government’s measures of curbing the drug, trade the drug cartels mounted escalating violence throughout the country.

In the year 2008, 6,300 people were said to have been murdered by drug related violence. In Ciudad, the situation has been termed as bloody as a record of 1,600 people was murdered in this city alone in the year 2008. In the year 2009, the violence had escalated as 2,300 Mexicans had been murdered as of May (Kirkwood, 2010, p 216)

On assuming office in 2006, president Calderon aggressively responded towards the drug struggle, with about 45,000 troops being employed to deal with this menace. In the bloody Ciudad, 8,000 troops were deployed to tackle the city’s drug trade. The policies of the Calderon government in fighting the drug trade earned him assistance from the then Bush government that offered $1.4 billion to aid in efforts of combating drug trade (Kirkwood, 2010, p 216)


At the commencement of the second decade of the 21 century, the Mexican government faces numerous issues from all fronts. The main attention has been on combating the drug trafficking issue. Critics suggest that government attempts have failed in eradicating the drug war. In political scene, Mexico is striving to create a transparent democratic process since the obstacles surrounding the 1988 elections. Forward strides for a democratic process were marked in the 2000 presidential elections as it was marked as a political transition.

The 2006 elections appeals by Lopez Obrador were indications of the long journey a head before Mexico can become fully democratic. The 2000 presidential elections saw a candidate not from the PRI party win, mainly because of collective support from the opposition to oust the PRI from power. The elections were termed as transparent and democratic thus bringing a new dimension to the Mexican politics.

The indigenous cultural values of the communities in Mexico have been transformed by westernization culture to modern values. However, some of the cultural values like art have been maintained despite the change to modern cultural values. In addition to this, religious cultures e.g. the cult of the virgin of Guadalupe are still significant to the modern Mexico. It is suggested that some of the tourist attractions to Mexico are the murals painted on the walls of public ministries.

Politics and social decays like drug trafficking are two different entities that should be separated for the common good of Mexico. In addition to this, the penetration of the drug money to the Catholic Church is a situation that is not helping but instead justifying the existence of drug trafficking.

However, tackling the drug menace will mean better future in the politics and economy of Mexico that has been engulfed by the drug trafficking situation. The culture of moral decay that had been brought about by the drug menace will also cease to exist, thus liberating Mexico.


Coerver, M. D., Pasztor, B.S, and Buffington, R. (2004). Web.

Foster, V. L. (2010). . Web.

Joseph. M. G, and Henderson, J. T. (2002). . Web.

Kirkwood, B. (2010). . Web.

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