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Inside Mexico’s war on drugs: Conversations with ‘el narco’

Garcia-Reyes, Karina

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Karina Garcia-Reyes


I am from northern Mexico, one of the regions most affected by the global war on drugs.

From 2008 to 2012 my hometown – which I’m not naming here for safety reasons – went through one of the most violent times in its history. Shootings between cartels and the military became frequent events, which could happen at any time of the day anywhere in the city. I personally witnessed a shooting just across from the university where I used to teach.

My friends and family had similar experiences. Some of them witnessed shootings from their cars, others from their home.

In addition to the growing violence, the Zetas cartel started to bribe the local businesses. If owners did not pay, the cartel would either destroy their businesses or kidnap a family member. As a result, many businesses had to close their doors. The cartels fueled paranoia on social media. “Do not come out tonight,” a tweet would warn, “because there will be a shooting.” Sometimes, these threats proved to be true.


Garcia-Reyes, K. (2020). Inside Mexico’s war on drugs: Conversations with ‘el narco’. [The Conversation]

Digital Artefact Type Other
Publication Date Feb 3, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 24, 2023
Keywords Violence; Mexico; War on Drugs; Drug policy; Cartels; Drug trafficking; Gang violence; Mexican drug wars; Narcos; Drug cartels
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