Infrastructure, Regional Development, and Internal Displacement in Mexico

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 9:10 AM
Columbia 8 (Washington Hilton)
Ariana Angeles Garcia, Centro de Investigación y Docencia in Mexico
From 2006 to 2012, the Mexican federal government declared an open war against drug traffickers. In keeping with the official political discourse, this security policy had a series of objectives, two of which were particularly important. On the one hand, it would combat the production, sale, and consumption of any type of illegal drugs. On the other hand, it would put a stop to violence generated by the production and distribution chains for drugs.

A little more than ten years have passed since the start of this policy and the results have been negative in economic and social terms. Socially, it is estimated that more than 100,000 persons have been killed and 30,000 disappeared. There have also been increased criminalization of users and the internal displacement of more than 250,000 people due to violence caused by conflict between rival criminal groups, as well as clashes with the Mexican state.

This wave of internal displacement is novel due to the context of violence in which it has occurred. It is a complex phenomenon which requires analysis from distinct perspective, one of those being the relation that exists between the development of communities with high rates of displacement, the development of transport infrastructure (primarily highways and regional communal roads), and the conditions precipitating the need for people to abandon their homes to escape violence. In interviews, displaced personas have reported the lack of roads and highways as one factor for their decision to leave their communities, because police have difficulty accessing the area. This problem leads to incursions by organized crime who come to dominate the territory. This paper examines these oral accounts and other data to underscore the relationship between space and mobility in terms of regional insecurity and the factors leading to internal displacement.