Just across the US-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas in the Mexican state of Chihuahua lies Ciudad Juárez, where the wages of workers in the maquiladoras, export-oriented factories run by foreign businesses, are significantly lower than in other parts of the country. Among the many maquiladoras in the city is a 2,800-worker printer-cartridge plant owned by Lexmark, a multinational company based in Lexington, Kentucky.
In 2011, Mexico faced huge costs from the drug trade and efforts to
counteract it. Mexico constituted a key part of the global drug trade,
as cartels trafficked illegal drugs through Mexico to their main buyer,
the United States. Cartels committed extensive violence as they tried
to ensure compliance from citizens and maximize profit. The most
frequent victims of drug violence were poor Mexicans, and some cities,
such as the border town of Ciudad Juarez, were particularly dangerous.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had controlled Mexico and won almost every presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial election since its founding in 1929. The PRI also dominated politics in most municipalities and on local levels. In the 1983 and 1985 elections however, the National Action Party (PAN) won many municipal seats and posed a significant challenge to state offices held by the PRI.
In 2004, Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz became Governor of Oaxaca in a contentious election, rumored to involve fraud. Many civilians and activists were angered over his win and led protest campaigns against him, resulting in the detention, incarceration, and disappearance of hundreds of social leaders throughout Oaxaca. State forces silenced those who attempted to demonstrate even though the Oaxacan constitution permits protest.