The Criminal Subversion of Mexican Democracy

Issue Date January 2014
Volume 25
Issue 1
Page Numbers 5-18
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Threats to the integrity of electoral democracy are manifold. The comparative literature has focused on “vertical” threats: the manipulation of elections by central governments. This article, by contrast, draws attention to “horizontal” threats: the societal subversion of democratic elections by criminal violence. It analyzes the so-called drug war in Mexico to illustrate the chilling effects private organized violence has on electoral democracy. After tracing the origins of Mexico’s new internal war, the article documents the damages it bears on the democratic integrity of elections as well as on surrounding rights and liberties.