RileySENTINEL Country Risk Report: Mexico

Country Report for Mexico

Bandera mexicana

Photo by Jorge Aguilar / Unsplash

Last Update: June 6, 2023

Assessed Risk Level: Moderate

Government and Political Context

Corruption remains endemic in Mexico despite continual promises of eradication from politicians. Limited rule of law prevails in many states due to narco-related and other criminal activities. However, the Mexican system of governance remains among the most stable in Latin America, despite these high levels of corruption and areas of insecurity. Sanctions are not a significant concern.

Security Overview

Conflict in Mexico varies greatly by region, particularly in relation to narco-trafficking. City crime varies from opportunistic in cities like Cancun to violent in cities like Culiacan, generally correlating to the presence and strength of cartels. Terror-like tactics used by cartels are known, but they are not classified as terrorist organizations. Despite porous border concerns, Islamist group infiltrations into the US have not materialized. Mexico has a strong protest culture, particularly over political and economic issues.

General Operational Assessment

International carriers provide safe travel to and from Mexico. However, the country remains an attractive target for cyber criminals with weak-to-moderate defense against such attacks, despite some defense aid from the US. Mexico boasts a comprehensive road network in generally good condition by Latin American standards. Urban and most rural areas have highly reliable basic services such as water, electricity, and fuel.

Environmental Hazards

Due to geographic diversity, Mexico’s climate varies significantly. Extractive activities pose some environmental risks. Air pollution is a chronic issue in Mexico City. Earthquakes occur frequently, some severe. Both the Gulf/Caribbean and Pacific Coasts are prone to tropical systems, with heavy rainfall possible even without a formal organized system. Hurricane season typically lasts from June through November, peaking in September.

Health and Medical Considerations

Mosquito-borne diseases are the primary non-routine epidemiological concern. High-quality medical facilities are available in most major cities, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Cancun. While less populated areas may have lesser facilities, the availability of medicines is generally adequate. Tap water is not considered safe for drinking unless otherwise indicated.

Mexico is a major anchor economy in Latin America with an economy intertwined with the US. Its economy relies on manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture, while narco-trafficking dominates the informal economy. This has resulted in strong cartels dividing the country's territory, leading to areas of intense conflict. These risks are countered by areas of low conflict, illustrating Mexico's heterogeneous risk matrix. Despite crime and natural disasters, basic services are highly reliable.

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