The Taliban in Mexico

Portrait of two businessmen sitting opposite each other elbowing on the table with their arms grappled in fight

You have to talk about politics. Silence is not good for anyone. Whoever requires gods, who seeks them in the spiritual world and prays to them in private, in politics, there are only human beings.

In a group of friends from my CDMX high school, the proposal came up not to discuss political issues to avoid conflicts. A politician can no longer be freely criticized, analyzed, or ridiculed, without a Taliban coming out, knife on tongue, defending him with victim tears, old-school nationalist clichés, or fundamentalist fervor.

We have all stopped seeing friends or relatives. Mexico, like other countries, is deeply divided by populism, but we are not unique, as Anne Applebaum well analyzes in her book The Twilight of Democracy.

Perhaps my former colleagues are right and their prudence is good, but I am against it. It is important to talk about politics, I go further, it is essential to talk about politics.

Due to bad politics and bad government, Mexico is a mediocre country with poverty and artificial privileges. In the index of economic freedoms, we are in 65th place. We have a long way to go to achieve what Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Estonia, or Canada have achieved.

In political development, we are an electoral democracy, but we are far from being a liberal democracy like Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

We have average competitiveness in the world, according to IMCO. In the interior we have states with high competitiveness such as CDMX, Nuevo León, Querétaro, Coahuila and Jalisco, and states with low competitiveness such as Tlaxcala, Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

We have regressed in economic, political, and social development in the last three years. Populism has increased poverty and inequality for us. Insecurity has also increased and investment has decreased.

All the indices agree on the same thing, our evil has a name: bad government. On the one hand, we do not have an effective and independent Judicial Power that guarantees freedoms and fundamental rights and, on the other, there is too much concentration of power in the Executive.

We, therefore, do not have a true rule of law. We have too much government and little society, and the government we have is usually bad, opaque, and little policed. I’m not saying it, the indexes say it. And this has gotten worse in this administration. Neither do I say it, the INEGI, CONEVAL, and the Executive Secretariat of the National Security System say so. 

3 years ago, there would be no discussion about it, but today, politics has been tainted by religion. There are those who fervently believe that Morena and AMLO are doing the right thing and do not accept the data of deterioration or unresolved opportunities.

When politics becomes religion there is no longer the possibility of analysis or dialogue. Absolutes do not tolerate nuances. The phenomenon is not new. I have suffered attacks from the Taliban of all colors: those of the PRI in the eighties, those of the PAN in the nineties, and in this century, those of the Foxistas and Calderonistas. In Nuevo León, many stopped talking to me when I exposed the faults of “El Bronco” or simply warned them that the vote is being given, but not the head.


Today, I had to block red-bone pejistas in my social networks. Lovers do not understand the reason, believers do not accept other people’s gods. The Taliban do not tolerate freedom.

The phenomenon, I insist, is not new, but it has been exacerbated; It seems that many Mexicans, even the most secular, still require an earthly god to solve their personal failure, their existential anguish, or confirm their conspiratorial flat Earth. We cannot keep silent or fear debate for fear of inflaming the Taliban, new or old, official or officious, smart or foolish, friends or relatives. You have to talk about politics and a lot, with courage, rationality, and firmness. Silence is not good for anyone, neither personally nor collectively. Whoever requires gods, who seeks them in the spiritual world and prays to them in private, in politics, there are only human beings.

* Santiago Roel R. is Director and founder of the Criminal Stoplight, a tool for accountability, evaluation and analysis of the behavior of crime and violence in

Mexico Daily Post