"Mexico's new security law reveals deeper structural causes of violence"
By Alan Bersin and Gustavo Mohar - Dallas Morning News
As Mexico's 2018 presidential election approaches, the political discussion has been mired in debate over the approval of the new interior security law. One of the main drivers behind the law was to provide the Mexican Army and Navy with a legal framework under which they could continue to fight organized criminal groups.
Mexico´s armed forces were not conceived to take on this role. However, since 2006 they have been placed at the forefront of the government's efforts to dismantle and tackle criminal organizations. These organizations have morphed from being integrated drug trafficking cartels to more regionally focused criminal groups with business lines such as extortion, kidnapping, hydrocarbon theft and domestic drug dealing, among others.
As the groups' regional focus has grown, so has their willingness to exert control through two primary means: corruption of government officials and violence to intimidate key stakeholders. Notably, violence levels in 2017 due to fighting among rival gangs resulted in the highest death toll in two decades.