Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in Mexico

When and Where

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
CG 265
Canadiana Gallery
14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9


Mónica Serrano


Many people today identify Mexico with criminal violence. Shocking stories appear almost every day in the news. But what lies behind the headlines? How did drug-trafficking originate in Mexico, and how has it evolved? Above all what has been the role of a US driven international drug control regime in this evolution? This lecture will critically examine the relationship between drug prohibition and the evolution of illicit drug markets in Mexico. In doing so it will seek to provide an explanation for Mexico´s violent turn in the 21st Century. It will discuss the notion of organized crime in the Mexican context and identify current risks of state capture in both US driven punitive supply strategies and Mexico´s transition to democracy. It will finally offer some reflections on alternative scenarios for Mexico. 

About Professor Mónica Serrano

Mónica Serrano is Professor of International Relations at El Colegio de México. She is also Senior Fellow at Ralph Bunche Institute, Associate Fellow of the International Institute for Strategic Studies IISS, and a member of the International Faculty of the Doctorate on Organised Crime at the University of Milan. She was the founding Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (2008-2011), a member of the International Advisory Board of the FRAME Project—Fostering Human Rights Among European (External and Internal) Policies— of the Board of Directors of the Academic Council on the United Nations System ACUNS, Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, Oxford University and co-editor of Global Governance. She has taught at Oxford University, the Institute of Latin American Studies, London University, and at the Universitá Degli Studi Di Milano and has published extensively on international security and Latin America, with particular reference to international institutions, security, human rights, transnational crime and civil-military relations. Her recent books include: Human Rights Regimes in the Americas (2009); After Oppression: Transitional Justice in Latin America and Eastern Europe (2012); Mexico’s Security Failure: Collapse into Criminal Violence (2012); The International Politics of Human Rights. Rallying to the R2P Cause? (2014); El Tratado de Tlatelolco. Una mirada retrospectiva a medio siglo de su firma (2017) and Verdad, Justicia y Memoria. México en contextos de violencia criminal (in press). She currently serves on the editorial boards of Conflict, Security and Development, Global Responsibility to Protect, Foro Internacional and Perfiles Latinoamericanos.

This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Toronto. 

A light lunch will be served at 12:00pm in the Centre Lounge, 2nd floor of the Canadiana Gallery. 

Please note that the location does not have a working elevator. If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact us at crimsl.communications@utoronto.ca and we will do our best to make appropriate arrangements.


Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese


14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9