Mexico’s Dark Side

In Mexico, as in many countries, there are dark and gloomy segments of society that entertain inclinations that the majority of the population do not share, but have solidified in large and significant sectors. By this I mean ideas, opinions or behaviors that are often marginal and in the minority, but which reveal disturbing facets that many people would rather not see. In October and November of 2014, a series of 25 national surveys was conducted by UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico], led by Julia Isabel Flores, which allows us to glimpse some aspects of that dark Mexico (Mexicans Seeing Themselves: Top National Issues, 26 volumes, UNAM, 2015).

According to the surveys, 30% of people agree that torture be used to obtain information, 27% believe that authorities should break the laws in order to apply justice, 33% agree with the death penalty and 37% think that it is better to not give information to authorities so as to not get themselves into trouble. They are minority views but they are shared by about one-third of participants. Of course, it is not necessarily the same segment of the population that holds these views, but perhaps a significant sector does agree in supporting attitudes that despise the law.

It reveals shadows of an intense unease that many people share. A quarter of citizens, the surveys show, express anger, rage or resentment, while others say they feel distrust, disappointment or dissatisfaction. About half believe the end justifies the means. These figures are bad signs coming from large segments of society living in discontent, immersed in broken communities full of resentment.

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