Why Mexican Security is Crumbling – and How That Matters Here

By Eric Olson

Eric Olson is Deputy Director of the Latin American Program and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. His research and writing has focused on security issues and the impacts of crime, organized crime, and violence on democratic governance. He has also written extensively about U.S. security assistance in Mexico and Central America. Prior to joining the Wilson Center, he was a Senior Specialist in the Department for Promotion of Good Governance at the Organization of American States from 2006-2007. He served as Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA from 2002-2006. Prior to Amnesty, he was the Senior Associate for Mexico, and Economic Policy at the Washington Office on Latin America for eight years. He worked at Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education in Cuernavaca, Mexico from 1989-1993, where he was the program director. From 1986-1988, he worked in Honduras as a development specialist for several local non-governmental organizations. He has an M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University, Washington, D.C.

Mexico was ranked the most-worsened country this year on the Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index (FSI), tying with Ethiopia for the bottom spot. Although Mexico has long faced violence, corruption, and organized crime, these problems all worsened during the past year, countering a decade-long trend of increasing stability there. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder asked Eric Olson, the deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American program and senior advisor to its Mexico Institute, what explains this drop in stability, and whether uncertainty over Trump Administration policy has anything to do with it.

The Cipher Brief: Why did Mexico worsen so drastically this year on the Fragile States Index?

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