Spiralling violence in the horrific war on drugs in Mexico has resulted in up to 60,000 deaths since outgoing President Felipe Calderón launched a military offensive against the drug cartels in 2006. Coincident with this violence has also been the spiralling levels of money laundering pulling together institutions of transnational capital, Mexico’s drugs cartels, and their past and present conviviality with the formidable political structures of Mexico’s dominant ruling parties. These spirals of global networks connecting drug cartels, political party structures, transnational banking operations, and military security apparatuses remind one of similar formations in the past linked to the United States’ so-called War on Drugs. Earlier spirals of violence and laundering linked to drug trafficking were common place in the years of the Iran-Contra Affair, the United States’ invasion of Panama, or the scandals surrounding the Bank of Commerce and Credit International. These earlier spirals of global networks were wonderfully captured in the artwork of Mark Lombardi (1951-2000). But how might we begin to piece together, with a similar spatial awareness, some of the spiralling elements connecting the drugs war in Mexico today?

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