Winning the drug-war or dismantling democracy in Mexico? Causes and consequences of the Iguala massacre

Seminar with three of Mexico’s most renowned experts on organized crime, law enforcement, and the relationship between politics and crime.

Photo: kinoluiggi /flickr


Sign up for the seminar (free of charge an open to all).


Conversation with Dr. Edgardo Buscaglía (Columbia University), Dr. Carlos Flores (CIESAS, Mexico, D.F.), Dr Tanalís Padilla (Dartmouth College) and Benedicte Bull (Professor, University of Oslo) as moderator.

The seminar will begin with the screening of a video montage on the events in Guerrero, edited by Daniel Muñoz.

Note that Dr. Tanalís Padilla will also give a guest lecture at the University the same day.


The atrocities against the peaceful students demonstrating in the small town of Iguala in Guerrero, Mexico, including 6 murders and 43 disappearances, has caused major public outcry not only because of the grotesque crime, but due to the involvement of the police and local government.  The case displayed clearly both the close links between organized crime and legal authorities, and how this nexus aggravates political oppression and limits democratic rights as well as threats citizens’ security.  It has occurred at a time when several of the main leaders of drug-cartels are arrested and the Mexican state is being portrayed abroad as in the process of gaining the upper hand against organized crime.


In this seminar, three of Mexico’s most renowned experts on organized crime, law enforcement, and the relationship between politics and crime, analyze the causes of the Guerrero-tragedy and its implications for politics, state legitimacy and the continued efforts to combat organized crime in Mexico. How can we understand the dominance of criminal groups and absence of legal authority in parts of Mexico? To what extent has governmental strategies against organized crime contributed to this? How and to what extent are criminal activity and political repression linked? What political and legal consequences can we expect? What is the responsibility of international actors including government and business, and how can they contribute to improve the situation?

These are among the questions to be discussed.


Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia is Senior Research Scholar in Law and Economics at Columbia University, and serves pro-bono as President of the Citizens' Action Institute (Instituto de Acción Ciudadana), a civil society organization aimed at establishing international networks for rescuing and protecting victims of transnational organized crime within societies suffering from weak states. He is the author "State Vacuums in México: A Path Towards Human Security." (Vacíos de Poder en México: El Camino hacia la Seguridad Humana)  (2014), and a number of other publications on law, organized crime and the economy.


Dr. Carlos Antonio Flores Pérez is associate professor in the Centre for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), in Mexico, and author of "El estado en crisis: Crimen organizado y políticas" (The State in Crisis: Organized Crime and Politics) (2009), and a number of other publications on politics and organized crime in Mexico.


Dr Tanalís Padilla is associate professor of History at Dartmouth College. She obtained her Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of California, San Diego, in 2001. She is the author of “Rural Resistance in the Land of Zapata: The Jaramillista Movement and the Myth of the Pax-Priísta, 1940-1962” (Duke University Press, 2008), and editor of "Campesinos y su persistencia en la actualidad mexicana" (Conaculta and Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2013). She is currently working on a book manuscript on Mexico’s normales rurales, training schools for teachers, in the post-revolutionary period.




NorLARNet and the research project ", Armed violence, organized crime and politics in Latin America" - The Research Council of Norway, Latin America Programme
Published Oct. 20, 2014 9:11 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2014 9:52 AM