Sinaloa, Gulf and Juárez cartels
Half a dozen cartels have fought each other relentlessly since the late 1990s for control of drug trafficking in the areas bordering the United States. The traffickers do not hesitate to bribe politicians in order to impose their law and their presence is far from being limited to the coastal and border states. The situation has got much worse since a federal offensive was launched against the cartels immediately after President Felipe Calderón’s installation in December 2006.
The police and army have also played a major role in violations of human rights and free expression. Since 2000, 80 journalists have been murdered and 14 others have disappeared. More than half of them had been covering stories linked to drug trafficking. None of the people behind these murders and disappearances has ever been arrested or tried. Mexico is one of the western hemisphere’s most dangerous countries for the media.