Date of Award


Document Type

Latin America


Mexico’s economy began a process of economic liberalization in the 1980s that continued through the 90s, highlighted by the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These neoliberal policies have contributed to the further marginalization of Mexico’s rural communities by making them dependent on foreign markets and placing their livelihood and wellbeing in the hands of foreign investors who favor deregulation, privatization, proletarian disunity, and low wages. The narcoeconomy represents to many members of these marginalized rural communities an alternative, and often more attainable, model of success. Michoacán has been hit heavily by neoliberal reforms and has concurrently seen an increase in cartel activity, whereas Chiapas, a region marked by its resistance to neoliberal incursion, has proven resistant to cartel influence. This corollary relationship is examined within the greater context of Mexico’s post-1980s economic liberalization.