Is Mexico more peaceful today than it was at the height of violence in 2011? Have rates of homicides and drug-trade related crimes continued to decrease over the last year?
With our Mexico Peace Index to be released in just under a week, we ask six of Mexico’s peacebuilders working across government, business, human rights, journalism, and education what the future of peace will be for the country.
The 2016 Mexico Peace Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace will be released on 7 April, providing an analysis of the trends, patterns and drivers of peace in Mexico.
I think we are reaching a situation of critical mass, of an implosion, which will lead to changes. Many of us are willing to work so that all of those changes become a positive path for the country to take. I have no crystal ball to ensure that the current energy in society will build better circumstances, but I have faith that it will, despite much evidence to the contrary.
Director, Editorial Group Noroeste
I see a pessimistic scenario in which things will not change much, organized crime in Mexico is a very complex problem and we continue without attacking the root of the problem. We keep burying bodies as if nothing happened. My optimistic viewpoint tells me that we are not the same Mexico we were in the seventies. We are approaching new levels of public discussion, of public demands, that are strongly broadcasted through new technologies and social networks. About 70 million young people in this country have a smartphone. I think that’s the hope, that Mexico, being such an unequal country, finds a way to have a common conversation. Just ten tweets sent to a senator are enough to make them start thinking about the political consequences of their actions.
Co-Founder, Cuadra Urbanismo
I would say my optimism is at about 70 per cent, which is very high considering the situation in Mexico. Many people are participating in solutions in their own ways, from working on a neighborhood garden to participating in an organization or trying to become an independent candidate for an election. Zapopan has the richest population in Jalisco, and also its poorest. I have the opportunity to travel throughout the entire municipality and meet people from different social levels and see that many are organizing to improve their environment.
Director, Laboratory for Mexico City
I think as a country, Mexico is now going through a particularly problematic place. I confess that my heart breaks a little. On the other hand, historically we have seen that crisis can also be spaces for transformation. A conversation between governments, civil society, businesses people and all the various actors is needed to move the country forward. As for Mexico City, it responds as few cities in the world do. We have recently become the city with the fourth largest bike system in the world, and it is the same with green transport. Although it is not perfect, we have achieved improvements in human rights issues such as same sex marriage, legalizing abortion, euthanasia and other social programs. It is important that the city keeps innovating and being an example of a modern city within this country.
Gerardo Palacios Pámanes
Dean, University of Security Sciences (UCS)
I think that if we decide to move to a higher level of lawfulness, we can make it happen. The context and the circumstances around us shape our behavior. We have to work as equals with the government to improve things.
Director, Promoting Peace
There is a window of opportunity. In Nuevo León emergency measures were implemented to control the rates of homicide and somehow they worked. Now we can go out without fear, this allowed us to see that our biggest and deepest problem is corruption. I think that if people begin to worry about their neighbors and their neighborhoods and start looking beyond just their immediate family, then things can improve. I think the most important value, beyond justice and freedom, is solidarity.
The 2016 Mexico Peace Index will be released on April 7, providing a comprehensive measure of peacefulness in Mexico from 2003 to 2015.
Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.