Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


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Mexico needs laser focus in drug war

Opinion Piece/Newspaper Article

Benjamin Lessing - CDDRL and CISAC Postdoctoral Fellow

Published by
The San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2012

Postdoctoral Fellow Ben Lessing explains how Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, may differ significantly from his predecessor in dealing with the country's drug war. Felipe Calderon's policy was intended to crush the cartels with a "no quarter" approach but led to smaller, splintered groups that battle violently for power. Lessing demonstrates through his research that crackdowns create more incentives for bribery, which ultimately leads to more violence and intimidation. Peña Nieto's middle path may lay the foundation to break Mexico's cycle of violence.