Drug Related Violence in Mexico A literature study from 1985-2011
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The explanations for the escalation of drug-related violence that are found in the literature are diverse as well as numerous. Among these explanations two direct causations dominate: first, Mexican government policy and strategy, primarily since Calderon took office in 2006 and to lesser extent during the Fox administration and second, the competition between and within the Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) since 2000. However, when these explanations are compared to the empirical data, the escalation of violence primarily coincides with the policy of Calderon and there are no elevated levels of violence since 2000, which reduces the validity of inter and intra-cartel violence within the timeframe of the literature. The empirical data suggests that since 2004 drug-related violence started rising slightly, with a clear break and an escalation of homicides since 2007. This also adds more weight to two more explanations: first the diversification of DTO modus operandi, a process that has essentially started with the arrival of the Zetas and second, with a decline in demand for Mexican drugs in America since 2006. Furthermore, the findings from the literature study seem best explained by the principle of producer-product, as the direct causality between policy, competition and drug-related violence could hardly exist without the existing environment. Pre-conditions like weak institutional capacity, corruption, availability of weapons, poverty, geography, culture and others are seen as exacerbates and contributors to the escalating levels of drug-related violence.