Politicians, Cartels, Murders, Oh My! / Chris Dalby

Jul 11, 2024

Politics in Mexico has long been a blood sport: not only “winner takes all,” but also incredibly violent. Last month’s national elections—when the country’s first female president won with a record number of votes and by a record margin of victory—demonstrated both trends. President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum’s Morena party (founded and still controlled by outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador) won huge national and state legislative victories. But the electoral campaign was punctuated by more than 100 political assassinations, as well as widespread kidnappings, forced disappearances, attempted murders, and attacks on family members and campaign staff—all by drug cartels competing for turf, control of markets, and quiescent politicians.

Even worse, this kind of political violence seems to be on the upswing in other parts of Latin America from Central America through the Andean countries and even into Chile. Why? The simple answer seems to be that controlling local, state, and national politicians is good for business—even if that sometimes requires killing those who have other ideas.

Can the cartels be stopped? Is Mexico becoming a narco-state? Is the infection spreading too fast in too many places to be contained?

Answers require a deep understanding of the cartels. That’s where Chris Dalby, an expert on cartel violence, comes in. He is a journalist and founder of World of Crime, which investigates and documents how the cartels operate. Listen as he explains what the Mexican cartels want and how they are getting it.

What do you think: Can Mexico beat the cartels or will the cartels beat Mexico?


Find the New Thinking for a New World podcast on a platform of your choice (Apple podcastSpotify, Google podcastYoutube, etc.)

Chris Dalby is the author of “CJNG – A Quick Guide to Mexico’s Deadliest Cartel”, the first in a series of guides to the most dangerous organized crime groups in the world. The guide reveals the CJNG’s transition from a family of ambitious avocado farmers in southern Mexico to a group of masked avengers and finally to a cartel feared around the world.


Chris Dalby is the founder of World of Crime, a think tank investigating organized crime. As a journalist, he has reported from over twenty countries on five continents. As a consultant, he has helped governments and non-profits make sense of urgent criminal challenges. He has worked in Mexico, Brazil, China, Malaysia and now resides in the Netherlands with his wife and two sons.

1 Comment

  1. Domino Frank

    The current state of politics in Mexico is undeniably tumultuous, marked by both a winner-takes-all mentality and a disturbing prevalence of violence. The recent victory of female president, Claudia Sheinbaum, exemplified these alarming trends, as their electoral triumph was overshadowed by a wave of political assassinations, kidnappings, and brutal attacks orchestrated by drug cartels vying for dominance.

    Even more disconcerting is the fact that this wave of political violence appears to be spreading beyond our borders, infiltrating other regions of Latin America such as Central America, the Andean countries, and even reaching into Chile. The question lingers: why is this violence escalating? The answer seems to lie in the notion that controlling local, state, and national politicians is a profitable endeavor, even if it necessitates eliminating those who oppose such control.

    The pressing inquiry remains: can the cartels be effectively curtailed? Are we on the verge of becoming a narco-state? Is the rapid proliferation of this dire condition too widespread for containment?

    To respond to these urgent queries, we must develop a profound comprehension of the inner workings of these cartels. This is where the expertise of Chris Dalby, an authority on cartel violence and a journalist and founder at World of Crime, becomes indispensable. Through their investigations and documentation of cartel operations, Chris Dalby unveils the desires of the Mexican cartels and sheds light on the tactics they employ to realize their goals.

    The question then arises: will Mexico prevail over the cartels, or will the cartels triumph over Mexico? This juncture necessitates comprehensive analysis and strategic action to confront the cartels head-on.

    It is imperative that as a nation, we unite to combat the insidious influence of drug cartels, safeguarding the principles of democracy and protecting the lives of our citizens. Only through a concerted effort, with the guidance of experts like Chris Dalby, can we hope to thwart the cartels’ expansion and ensure a brighter future for Mexico.


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