Security Cooperation

Topics include Mexico’s judicial reform process, strategies for confronting organized crime, anti-money laundering efforts and security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Issues in this Series

Criminal Networks and Security Policies

Victor Manuel Sánchez Valdés
In this article, the author presents a network analysis of the Sinaloa Cartel, and the paper asserts that network analysis is an important tool that is available to governments around the world to fight organized crime.

Conflict in Michoacán: Vigilante Groups Present Challenges and Opportunities for the Mexican Government

Gillian Horton
This paper analyzes the conflict in Michoacán, Mexico. The author offers policy recommendations for the Mexican government to take regarding the autodefensas movement.

Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence

David Shirk, Duncan Wood, Eric L. Olson, Matthew C. Ingram, Steven Dudley, Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, Nathan P. Jones, Lauren Villagran, Emily Edmonds-Poli, Lucy Conger, Octavio Rodriguez, Daniel M. Sabet, and Andrew Selee
This study is part of a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico. The book offers policy options for how to foster robust civic responses to the problems of crime and violence.

Co-Production and Oversight: Citizens and Their Police

Daniel M. Sabet
This analysis looks at two important roles that citizens can play to help respond to Mexico’s security challenges. The first is through the “co-production” of public security. The second role for citizens examined here is oversight of public officials and law enforcement agencies.

The Private Sector and Public Security: The Cases of Ciudad Juárez and Monterrey

Lucy Conger
This paper focuses on the nature and results of the civic engagement and activist postures adopted by the private sector in Juárez and Monterrey since 2008.

The Local Educational and Regional Economic Foundations of Violence: An Analysis of Homicide Rates across Mexico’s Municipalities

Matthew C. Ingram
Examining 2010 homicide rates across Mexico’s 2455 municipalities, Matthew Ingram offers a subnational and spatial study of the patterns and sources of violence.

2013: The State of Security in Mexico

David Shirk
In this article, David Shirk explores how the state of security in Mexico has changed in the year 2013. He argues that although there is much to be done, the current government’s efforts have actually been accompanied by a decrease in violence.

Mexico’s Petite Révolution: Justice and Security Implications of Approving a Fully New Code of Judicial Procedures

Viridiana Rios
This paper analyzes the implications of the approval of a Single Code, the fundamental ways in which it will change judicial procedures in Mexico, the main arguments given by its detractors and supporters, and the main benefits and challenges that its approval will pose for a country that faces large-scale criminal violence and low citizen’s trust in their authorities.

Four Rule of Law Policies to Make Mexico Grow

Viridiana Rios
In this article, Mexico scholar Viridiana Rios discusses the relationship between economic development and the rule of law. She argues that the rule of law provides a foundation for economic development by fostering a secure climate for investment, creating an environment of certainty about conflict resolution, providing all economic actors equal access to justice, and limiting corruption, predatory behavior and informality.

Understanding and Addressing Youth in “Gangs” in Mexico

Nathan P. Jones
This report defines the gang issue in Mexico, briefly describes U.S.-Mexico bilateral efforts on youth gang prevention via the Merida Initiative, and provides policy recommendations for the U.S. and Mexican governments on how to best support civil society and strengthen relevant state institutions.

Civic Engagement and the Judicial Reform: The role of civil society in reforming criminal justice in Mexico

Octavio Rodriguez
This report focuses on the role played by civil society in Mexico's judicial reform process, highlighting the efforts of organizations that have been influential and emblematic of civic activism in this area.

The Victims' Movement in Mexico

Lauren Villagran
This paper seeks to examine the composition of victims groups in Mexico, their organizational structure and internal divisions, and helps shed light on a number of facets of this social movement.

Civil Society, the Government and the Development of Citizen Security

Steven Dudley and Sandra Rodriguez Nieto
This paper dissects the attempts, with varying degrees of success, of civil society and business associations to interact with authorities on security issues in four Mexican cities: Juarez, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana.

U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Guatemala and Mexico

Colby Goodman
Goodman's paper discusses U.S. firearms trafficking to Mexico as well as the lesser known phenomenon of the illicit movement of U.S.-origin firearms to Guatemala.

The Effects of Drug-War Related Violence on Mexico’s Press and Democracy

Emily Edmonds-Poli
This paper offers an assessment of the impact of criminal violence on journalists and media workers in Mexico, which is now the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. Dr. Edmonds-Poli concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the Mexican government, Mexican society, and the international community to address the problem of violence against the Mexican media.

Criminal Procedure Reform in Mexico: Where Things Stand Now

Matthew C. Ingram
This paper gives an overview of Mexico’s judicial reform process and where things stand now that the Peña Nieto government has assumed the presidency from Felipe Calderón. A key challenge in tracking the reform continues to be the unavailability of systematic data on institutional changes; Ingram’s paper highlights the weakness in data availability but his measures of reform progress also contribute to ameliorating this weakness.

The State of Security in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Eric L. Olson and Erik Lee
"The State of Security in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region," is a new working paper by the Border Research Partnership, and will be a chapter in the forthcoming "State of the Border Report." This working paper looks at some of the many security concerns along the U.S. border, among them global terrorism, spillover violence from Mexico, and undocumented immigration.

It’s All about the Money: Advancing Anti-Money Laundering Efforts in the U.S. and Mexico to Combat TOC

Celina B. Realuyo
Mexican criminal organizations generate billions of dollars in revenues in the United States each year and have developed both sophisticated and low tech ways to “launder” their dirty money and continue trafficking.This paper outlines the use of the financial instruments aimed at degrading TCO's power in the U.S. and Mexico and increasing their cost of doing business.

Considering New Strategies for Confronting Organized Crime in Mexico

Eric L. Olson
The Mexico Institute presents a new publication on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation by Senior Associate Eric L. Olson that challenges the conventional wisdom about crime and violence in Mexico and suggests new strategies for effectively addressing the security threats posed by organized crime.

Crime Data and Spillover Violence along the Southwest Border

Christopher Wilson
As organized crime‐related violence has increased in northern Mexico, so has the heated rhetoric regarding the U.S. side of the border. The title of National Geographic’s program, Border Wars, exemplifies the sentiment, echoed by several politicians, that the border region is lawless and dangerous. For residents of the U.S. border region, thankfully, the reality is anything but that.

Shattered Dreams and Restoring Hope: Organized crime and violence on the U.S.-Mexico border

Eric L. Olson
Our group of seven is part of a joint research and writing project to examine the effectiveness of US and Mexican efforts to confront transnational organized crime that is tearing apart communities in both countries. Our project starts with the assumption that both countries have a shared responsibility to address the violence and underlying causes giving rise to the current crises in places like Ciudad Juarez.

Update on U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico Report

Colby Goodman
Since the Mexico Institute published its report entitled “U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico: New Data and Insights Illuminate Key Trends and Challenges” in September 2010, there is new information on the use of weapons, government actions, and challenges related to the issue, but there has been little or no movement on some of the key underlining problems.

Shared Responsibility

Eric L. Olson, Andrew Selee, and David Shirk
This publication examines specific challenges for security cooperation between the United States and Mexico including efforts to address the consumption of narcotics, money laundering, arms trafficking, intelligence sharing, policy strengthening, judicial reform, civil-military relations, and the protection of journalists.

The United States and Mexico: Towards a Strategic Partnership

At a time when the United States is undergoing a change in administration, the Woodrow Wilson Center felt it was important to conduct a thorough review of the relationship between the two countries and address possible strategies for cooperation between them in the future.

A Profile of Mexico's Major Organized Crime Groups

Miguel Salazar and Eric L. Olson
The purpose of this fact sheet is to shed light on the structure of the criminal organizations operating in Mexico and the United States, as well as to provide background information and analysis on the rapidly evolving nature of organized crime.

Steady Advances, Slow Results: U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation After Two Years of the Obama Administration

Andrew Selee and Eric L. Olson
In this paper we look at what the two governments have done over the past two years to move forward on their commitments. We find that there have been steady advances in each of the areas they committed to address, but that the results so far are far less than what is needed to address the threat posed by organized crime groups.

Beyond Merida: The Evolving Approach to Security Cooperation

Eric L. Olson and Christopher Wilson
While the majority of U.S. funding in the first phase of the Merida Initiative went to expensive equipment, particularly aircraft, the new approach shifts the focus toward institution building. It will attempt to create successful pilot projects, most likely in Tijuana and/or Ciudad Juarez, using a comprehensive approach to public security that could presumably be replicated in other parts of Mexico.

Pillar IV of Beyond Merida: Addressing the Socio-Economic Causes of Drug Related Crime and Violence in Mexico

Diana Negroponte
This paper is being released in preliminary form to inform the public about one key element in the strategy to address the underlying factors contributing to the violence and threats from organized.

Overview of the Merida Initiative

Andrew Selee
The Merida Initiative, which has been proposed by the U.S. and Mexican governments, would provide $1.4 billion over three years in equipment and training from the U.S. to the Mexican government to support both law enforcement efforts directed against organized crime and long-term institution building for federal police and the judicial system.

The United States and Mexico: Forging a Strategic Partnership

Co-Chairs: Ambassador Andrés Rozental and Professor Peter H. Smith

U.S.-Mexico Border Control in a Changing Economic and Security Context

Peter Andreas
A critical survey of the practice and politics of U.S.-Mexico border control within the changing contexts of economic integration and the “war on terror.”

Los Estados Unidos y México: Construyendo Una Asociación Estratégica

Co-Chairs: Ambassador Andrés Rozental and Professor Peter H. Smithen español

Fact Sheet: U.S. Southwest Border Security Initiatives

Robert Donnelly and Miguel Salazar
This report lists some of the various projects, programs, and activities undertaken by the U.S. government to enhance security at the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat transnational contraband trafficking.

Confronting the Challenges of Organized Crime in Mexico and Latin America

Eric L. Olson and Robert Donnelly
The following report seeks to highlight where common themes emerged in the discussion about organized crime and U.S.-Mexico security cooperation.

Nontraditional Security Threats in the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Relationshp: Overview and Recommendations

Prepared for the Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center, study on the “Parameters of Partnership in U.S.-Mexico Relations,” January 2005.

Cuadernos Del ICESI

National polls regarding insecurity, compiled by the Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios Sobre la Inseguridad (ICESI).

Security and Intelligence in U.S.-Mexico Relations

In spite of political differences between the two countries regarding global issues, their relationship has become stronger on a bilateral level since 9/11. Specifically, the greatest progress has been achieved in the field of intelligence.

U.S.-Mexico National Security Cooperation against Organized Crime: The Road Ahead

Sigrid Arzt Colunga
Calderón took an important step forward for Mexico’s national security interest by collaborating with the United States and sharing the responsibility of tackling organized crime. Will Calderón’s successor continue down this road? Can we foresee an equivalent to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the security front?

Six Key Issues in U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation

Eric L. Olson
While there have been instances of cooperation between the United States and Mexico in the past, the Mérida Initiative marks the first time Mexico has asked for U.S. assistance to strengthen its institutional capacity to respond to organized crime.

U.S.-Mexico Policy Bulletin: June 2005

In this month’s bulletin,T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center, offers a perspective on an upcoming paradigm shift in U.S. immigration policy and how this may affect the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

U.S.-Mexico Policy Bulletin; January 2005

The first issue of the U.S.-Mexico Policy Bulletin, featuring Peter Andreas's article on new approaches to border control.

Mexico and the New Challenges of Hemispheric Security

Raul Benitez-Manaut
This book is the product of a work done by Raúl Benitez Manaut, a member of the Creating Community Research Team. The three essays compiled in this volume are the fruit of his residence at the Wilson Center as a Public Policy Scholar in the Latin American Program.

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