Rethinking the Origins of the Drug War in Mexico

The violent and costly drug war that has been raging on in Mexico has received a huge amount of international attention and coverage, especially since the Mexican government’s escalation of the war in 2006.

In this public lecture two eminent historians examined the crucial developments of Mexican drug policy and its discourse on drugs over the past 100 years. Their scholarship poses key questions to the role the US has played in the origins and development of the Mexican Drug War and highlight the extent to which events have been influenced by local actors. Their discussion also provided a critical long-term perspective on the increasing militarisation of President Enrique Peña Nieto's anti-drug strategy.


Benjamin Smith  100x100

Dr Benjamin Smith is a Reader in Latin American History at the University of Warwick. He works on the political, social and religious history of Mexico and has also published extensively on the war on drugs in Latin America.

carlos perez ricart 100x100

Dr Carlos A. Perez Ricart is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Contemporary History and Public Policy of Mexico at the University of Oxford, as well as a member of both the History Faculty and the Latin American Centre (LAC). Dr Perez Ricart works on activities of law enforcement agencies in the United States and the transnational construction of the war on drugs in Mexico between 1938 and 1978.



Dr Tanya Harmer (@tanyaharmer) is Associate Professor at the LSE International History Department and a faculty affiliate of the US Centre. Dr Harmer is a specialist in US-Latin American relations and has published extensively on the Cold War in Latin America. 

Event podcast and photos

This event was held on 23 February 2018



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