Author Biography

Fausto Carbajal-Glass is a researcher and consultant on political risk and security. He holds a BA in International Relations from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, a Master degree in War Studies from King’s College London, and graduated from the Strategy and Defense Policy course from the National Defense University, Washington D.C. He has worked for the Mexican government, particularly for the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. He is member of the Urban Violence Research Network (UVRN), the Strategic Hub for Organized Crime Research (SHOC-RUSI), the European Consortium for Political Research –Standing Group on Organized Crime (ECPR-SGOC), the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF), the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI), and Mexico Research Centre for Peace (CIPMEX). He has also served as a non-resident fellow of the Mexican Navy Institute for Strategic Research (ININVESTAM). He is lecturer of the BA in Strategic Intelligence at Universidad Anáhuac Mexico, where he teaches the module “Trends in Organized Crime”. His analyses on the crime-conflict compound, the conflict-security-development nexus and the evolution of organized crime have appeared in newspapers as well as academic and policy publications.



Subject Area Keywords

Armed groups, Civil war and internal conflict, Conflict studies, Democracy and democatization, Development and security, Gangs and criminal organizations, Latin America, Mexico, Nonstate actors, Political violence, Security studies, Transnational crime


Contrary to the “narco-centric” explanation of homicidal violence in Mexico, this article proposes “the political trajectory of urban violence” (PTUV) as an additional analytical category to nuance the developmental process of today´s large-scale violence in Mexican urban enclaves. Building on previous research, this article argues that organized crime-related violence in Mexican cities today has unveiled –and exacerbated– intricate power tensions among private actors –both illegal and, perhaps more importantly, legal ones– which need to be explored by considering the historical evolution of these political processes within a given urban context. The PTUV, then, regards recent organized crime-related violence as part of a continuum of the socio-political complex in urban environments, and not only due to criminal conduct or activity per se. Because a concrete case study is central to advance on this research agenda, the article posits that repeated outbreaks of homicidal violence in the city of Apatzingán, Michoacán, Mexico, have been the result of a rooted local conflict over land access, economic hegemony, political dominance and increased urbanization.