How Powerful Is Mexico?

With a strong national culture and positive international relations marred by expanding cartel violence, we wanted to know, just how powerful is Mexico?

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Mexico Arrests Two Major Cartel Leaders

Authorities in Mexico made to high profile arrests in the ongoing fight against the country's drug cartels. Last week, officials said they had captured Jesús Salas Aguayo, the leader of the Juárez Cartel, as well as José Tiburicio Hernández Fuentes, head of the Gulf Cartel. While the arrests come as a decisive blow against the cartels' hold along the Texas border, drug trafficking remains a big, violent problem for Mexico.

President Enrique Peña Nieto's crackdown policy is a continuation of his predecessor, Felipe Calderón. Both have spearheaded major efforts to arrest cartel leaders. Today, according to the New York Times, only two key figures from the Sinaloa Cartel remain at large. This has brought about a significant decrease in violence, especially in areas like Ciudad Juárez, where killings used to be rampant.

Still, smaller groups appear to be seizing the opportunity to claim power. In early April, members of the Jalisco Cartel-New Generation ambushed a state police convoy and killed 15 agents. In addition, cartels are now seeking new revenue streams, leading to an uptick in extortion and kidnappings. The next challenge of Mexico's drug fight is creating a viable, effective local police forces.

Learn More:
Mexico's Disappeared (Human Rights Watch)
"When Enrique Peña Nieto took office on December 1, 2012, he inherited a country reeling from an epidemic of drug violence that had taken the lives of more than 60,000 Mexicans in six years."

Mexico's Poverty Rate: Half Of Country's Population Lives In Poverty (Huffington Post)
"Like nearly half of Mexicans who live in poverty, 45-year-old subsistence farmer Oliva Zuniga has little hope of a better life as she strives to meet the rising costs of tending her humble plot of land."

Spanish Speaking Countries of the World (Maps of the World)
"The map of Top Spanish Speaking Countries shows the countries where maximum people speak Spanish, top countries being Spain, Mexico and Argentina."