As some one who lives directly on the border with Mexico (When I go on my campus, my iPhone welcomes me to Mexico), goes there for meetings with Mexican universities, and whose office staff is 80% from there I wish to address the question posed in this thread. Also, I also serve on the university safety travel committee and read state department travel warnings every week.
Let me say this. virtually no one who posted thus far about this has any deep understanding of the complex situation there.
First, it is mostly the northern states with cartel troubles. And they are bad. Most of Mexico is pretty safer, safer than many cities in the US.
Second, this is crudely overly simple, but Mexico is not a new democracy. The state was designed many years ago to allow and institutionalize exploitation and corruption and it has succeeded.
Third, the current cartels are the direct product of the US government demand and intervention into Mexican politics to stop the drugs. Prior to the US making the Mexican government go after the main cartel, the Mexican government and the cartel had a deal. As long as they sold drugs to the US and paid the government bribes, the government let it run its business. There was little violence, nothing like today along the border.
Back then, the borders were very safe and filled with tourists and vacationers. People here crossed over each night to dine and drink. (This was before my time here.)
But, when the federalists went after the cartel and broke it up, as demanded by the US, it allowed dozens of sub-leaders to think “I can become the top dog now.” A number of cartels emerged, each vying for control of an uncontrollable situation. The central leadership was removed so the cartel splintered into warring cartels.
Before, the government could bargain and deal with the cartel. Now each cartel has raised an army to battle other cartels. More than ever, the cartels are run by psychopaths. They are filled with sick people.
This also gave rise to local “mom and pop” crime rings who deal in quick kidnappings and protection schemes.
By following the lead of the US, the situation fell apart quickly.
Next, the idea that the US can send in the military to defeat these guys makes all Mexicans laugh at our foolishness. Remember, the government is corrupt and now many cartels are buying off local police. Those police would side with their fellow Mexicans more often than an occupying US military. And most Mexicans would as well.
They ask, why is the US making us solve their problem?
The real underlying problem, has always been the market for drugs in the US, not the sales from Mexico. A better solution is to stop drug purchases in the US. No buying by us means no selling by them. Ha ha ha. Hard to do? Yes and a militarized war on drugs here was a failure. The US government failed to control drugs here. They won’t do better in Mexico.
Portugal has it right. Decriminalize drug users, give support to addicts, provide care and escape programs, and also give job training to drug users. That approach as proven to be far more successful
This is a complex situation, but I can only type simple statements since I am using my iPad.
But the above may provide some sophistication to the discussion here.