Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups


Editor’s Note: GPAHE’s country reports describe active far-right extremist and hate groups (including political parties that meet our criteria) to highlight the growing global threat of far-right extremism and the transnational nature of this movement. You can read more about how we classify far-right extremist groups and the purpose of these reports.

In Mexico, a complex undercurrent of racism, xenophobia, and far-right extremism continues to shape modern day society and politics. From the rigid racial hierarchies of Spanish colonial rule to the modern-day appearance of neo-Nazi and anti-LGBTQ+ groups, Mexico has a long history of far-right activism. This report is a deep dive into this often-overlooked aspect of Mexican society, tracing the historical roots of discrimination from the caste system of New Spain through the turbulent years of revolution and reform, and into the present day. It examines how, despite progress in many areas, deeply ingrained prejudices persist, manifesting in ongoing marginalization and violence to migrants, Indigenous, and Afro-Mexican populations, a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, and the emergence of new far-right movements with troubling international connections particularly to American and European far-right actors. 

Race and the Spanish Empire
Racism, or racial hierarchy, was deeply embedded in the Spanish colonial system, and therefore has a deep history in Mexico. The Spanish Empire rested on a complex racial and social caste system, depicted in the infamous Casta paintings, which presented more than a dozen different combinations of couples, ranging from two Spaniards to various mixed race couples.

The Spanish system was hierarchical by race but also by place of birth, ranging from pureblood Spaniards at the top, to Latin American-born Spanish descendants, to various “mixed” racial identities with Indigenous or Black parentage. “Whiteness” as a concept was embedded in the system, with pureblood “white” Spaniards at the top.

The system was more flexible than America’s rigid racial hierarchy, where the “one drop” rule made a person with any African ancestry legally “Black,” and functioned more as a caste system that determined social status and undergirded a person’s place in society. There was some flexibility in the Spanish system, and those of mixed race and even African-descent were allowed at times to petition, and pay, for a “certificate of whiteness” (cédulas de gracias al sacar), essentially changing their “race” by royal writ. 

The racial and birthplace hierarchy determined employment and status in the Empire. At the top were native-born Spaniards, who ruled New Spain. Only Spaniards could hold high-level jobs in the colonial government. The second group were criollos, meaning those with Spanish parents, but born in Mexico. Though many criollos were prosperous, they had little say in government. The third group, namely mestizos (“mixed”), were people who had some Spanish ancestry but also Indigenous ancestry, Mexico being home to many major native populations including Aztecs and Mayans, among others. Mestizos ranked below Spaniards and criollos, and were considered inferior, though later, after independence, they would be the core of the Mexican “race.” 

The next most marginalized population in New Spain were Indigenous descendants of pre-Columbian peoples. Their labor was exploited by Spaniards and criollos and they held little power while having to pay taxes and tributes to the Crown. They were essentially considered wards of the Empire by law. In addition to these four populations, some Africans were imported as enslaved people and were considered to be at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.

Independence and Indigenous Uprisings
The Spaniards exploited New Spain for the benefit of their Empire, and Mexico was one of its richest prizes, providing half of the Empire’s taxes. This exploitation, to unfairly simplify a complex and rich history, led over the centuries to local populations rejecting the Empire and fighting for independence, which was achieved in 1821 when Spain was finally pushed out. 

Mexican history in the 1800s is extremely complicated, but in 1821 the legal racial distinctions as they related to control of governing institutions were abolished, though power remained in the hands of “white” elites and the caste system continued to function though not sanctioned by law. The 1800s saw considerable political instability, with an Emperor, a republic, a war with the U.S. that led to the loss of Texas, a French invasion and imposition of a French Emperor for a time, and then the rise of a dictatorship in the guise of a “republic” in 1876.

The period following independence was marked by racial violence between the ruling oligarchy and Indigenous people. Most notable was the Caste War, which raged through much of the mid- to late-1800s. Mayans and those of mixed ancestry rebelled against the white and mestizo population of Yucatán, infuriated and frustrated by their exploitation in the hacienda system. 

The first attack in the Mayan uprising took place in January 1847 at Valladolid, and the government’s moves to quell the uprising were devastating for the region. By 1850, census figures indicated that the population of Yucatán was halved; almost 250,000 people died or fled the region. In 1849, the government sold Mayan captives as slaves to Cuba, a practice that continued until 1861. 

Meanwhile, the insurgent Mayans developed strongholds in the eastern part of the province. In 1850, the cult of the “Cruz Parlante” (talking cross), a cross that “spoke” through an interpreter, provided spiritual motivation to continue the fight in the area around Quintana Roo. The Caste War wasn’t officially declared over until 1901, though the region where Quintana Roo is located remained resistant to Mexican government intervention for the following decades. “Cruz Parlante” devotion continues to this day.

The Porfiriato
From 1876 to 1910, the country was dominated by strongman Porfirio Díaz, who ruled in collaboration with the oligarchy and in alliance with the British and American governments who were allowed to exploit Mexico’s considerable natural resources. Though the economy grew under Díaz, he remained in power by rigging elections, censoring the press, and eliminating rivals. The country was militarized and banditry suppressed by a police force controlled by Díaz. The Porfiriato was often characterized as having two slogans, “order and progress” and “bread or stick.” Economic growth was on the backs of Indigenous people and other marginalized groups who were exploited largely by rich hacienda owners, who were “white,” wealthy, and often foreign. 

During the Porfiriato, conflict with Indigenous people continued. Particularly violent was the relationship with the Yaquis Indians, who lived in Sonora in northwest Mexico and had for decades been rebelling against the Spanish and Mexican governments. On January 18, 1900, the Mexican army battled Yaquis leader Tetabiate and his warriors in the Mazocoba area of Sonora, a conflict that came to be known as the Mazocoba Massacre. There were hundreds of casualties on both sides, but the Yaquis lost about 400 men, women, and children and another 1,000 or so were captured. Several Yaquis committed suicide rather than surrender. 

After the massacre, Díaz pursued his “extermination and deportation” policy against the Yaquis. There had long been discussion about moving the Yaquis out of Northern Mexico and in 1902, they, along with other Indigenous people, were forcibly removed to plantations in Yucatán and Oaxaca. Many died in captivity, either by suicide or from the horrific conditions. Between 1902 and 1908, some 15,000 Yaquis, out of 30,000, were deported. The American Magazine published a series, “México Bárbaro” (Barbarian Mexico), that exposed the human slavery that was practiced during the final years of Díaz’s rule in places like Yucatán and Oaxaca.

The Mexican Revolution
The constant exploitation of Indigenous people, the seizure of their lands, and Díaz’s long dictatorial reign led to the outbreak of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, which lasted for over a decade and was essentially a drawn out civil war. The period before the establishment of a new constitution in 1917 was marked by multiple rebellions and uprisings. Most famous were those led by Emiliano Zapata to improve the lot of Mexican peasants and calling for agrarian reform. 

Coahuila Governor Venustiano Carranza emerged victorious from this period of uprisings, battles between counter-revolutionary and revolutionary forces, and even among revolutionary forces. Carranza ultimately consolidated power, and a new constitution was promulgated in 1917. It was truly revolutionary given Mexico’s past. The new constitution established universal male suffrage, promoted secularism, workers’ rights, economic nationalism, and land reform, and enhanced the power of the federal government. The constitution was strongly nationalist in terms of economics, giving the government the power to expropriate foreign ownership of resources and land. Carranza served as president until 1920 when he was assassinated, and instability over governance by revolutionary generals continued for decades, even as state power became more centralized. 

This era in Mexican history also saw the bloody battles of the Cristero War (1926-1929.) Also known as La Cristiada, this lesser-known chapter of Mexican history pitted the secular government against Catholic rebels who fought to defend their religious freedoms.

The 1917 Constitution imposed strict limitations on the Catholic Church’s power. In 1926, President Plutarco Elías Calles enacted laws to enforce these constitutional provisions, prohibiting public religious ceremonies, closing monasteries and convents, and limiting the number of priests in the country.

These actions sparked outrage among devout Catholics, who viewed them as an attack on their faith. Peaceful protests soon gave way to armed rebellion, with the battle cry “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) rallying the faithful. The rebels, known as Cristeros, consisted mainly of rural peasants and urban middle-class Catholics led by charismatic figures like Enrique Gorostieta, a former federal general.

The conflict quickly escalated, engulfing much of central and western Mexico. Atrocities were committed on both sides, with government forces executing priests and rebels retaliating against teachers, and other government supporters. The war’s brutality shocked the nation, with an estimated 90,000 people killed. In 1929, an agreement was reached that allowed the Church to regain some of its rights while maintaining the separation of church and state.

It wasn’t until Lázaro Cárdenas del Rio came to power in 1934 that the fruits of the revolution began to ripen. He vastly expanded agrarian reform, expropriated commercial landed estates, nationalized the railways and the petroleum industry, came to an accommodation with the Catholic Church over its role in society, and put down remaining rebellions. 

Cárdenas founded a new political party that created sectoral representation of industrial workers, peasants, urban office workers, and the army, and ultimately evolved into the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (with the ironic name, Institutional Revolutionary Party), which would claim the presidency for decades until finally losing a presidential election in 2000. Cárdenas also engineered the succession of a hand-picked candidate and then, unlike so many of his predecessors, peacefully in 1940 gave up the office to his successor, General Manuel Ávila Camacho. The expropriation and reallocation of land and resources by the Cárdenas administration created a class of disaffected rich, and measures reducing the power of the Catholic Church angered many. These forces would form the basis of far-right movements in Mexico for years to come.

Mexican Xenophobia
Even with these major changes in Mexican government and society, one thing has long remained the same: extreme xenophobia toward immigrants. From the late 1800s, and continuing well into the 1900s, both before and after the 1910 revolution and ensuing civil war, Mexico passed xenophobic legislation aimed at keeping out many immigrant populations. After the brutal treatment of the Indigenous during the Porfiriato, a new nationalism rose based on the majority ethnic composition, the mestizo race, which was celebrated as the definition of being Mexican by the Revolution. 

Fundamentally, this new generation of mestizos was an anti-colonial project to create national unity — and it excluded immigrants. There were many racist attacks on Chinese immigrants during the Porfiriato, most notable being the 1911 massacre of more than 300 Chinese individuals in Torreón. Boats were inspected before leaving China to prevent the “dregs of humanity” from being sent over. To this day, Asians in Mexico regularly are mocked and stereotyped, and during the Covid-19 pandemic there was a rise in racial abuse and hate crimes against Asians in Mexico.

At the start of the 1920s, racism in Mexico and xenophobic sentiments intensified, and organizations such as the Pro-Race Committee and the Anti-Chinese and Anti-Jewish Nationalist League were created in response to rising immigration. Measures were put in place to preserve the ethnic composition of Mexico by curtailing new entrants, even though the numbers were quite small compared to immigrant populations entering other Latin American countries at the time. 

Immigrants were viewed as “fundamentally different” than the Mexican people. The Mexican working and middle classes, influenced by Mexican nationalism, came to see Asians, predominantly Chinese people, and Jews to a lesser extent, as an economic threat and protests and boycotts against Chinese businesses broke out. Mexican labor unions, now official organs recognized by the state, pressured the government to restrict Chinese and Jewish immigration to Mexico. The government, both state and federal, enacted and enforced discriminatory laws targeting people of Chinese descent. 

There were huge numbers of European immigrants to Latin America at the time of WWI, but most Europeans did not come to Mexico, normally opting for Argentina or Brazil. Those that did migrate to Mexico — along with the Chinese — were treated much more cruelly than in other parts of Latin America, and were considered infectious, degenerate, and poisonous to the mestizo race, and therefore the nation. 

In 1924, African-Americans and Afro-Cubans were explicitly restricted from immigrating, and in 1927, Eastern Europeans, Turks, and Middle Easterners were also considered “undesirable.” In the 1930s, prohibitions on “undesirable races” like “black, yellow, Malaysian and Hindu” people, as well as against Jews and gypsies, were implemented. During the 1930s, Jews became subject to the same type of persecution. In May 1931, some 250 Jewish merchants were expelled from the La Lagunilla market in Mexico City. During WWII, like the U.S., Japanese residents were put under surveillance, their movement restricted, and some were expelled. 

Fascist Movements
Mexico, like many other Latin American countries, had a fascist party. Established in Xalapa, Veracruz, one month after the October 1922, March on Rome that brought Benito Mussolini and the Italian Fascist Party to power. The Mexican Fascist Party was active in the 1920s, though it never reached the size of similar parties in Brazil and Argentina, nor did it last long. The party was formed largely in opposition to the effects of the Mexican Revolution by those who opposed what they viewed as the Revolution’s socialist policies, anti-Catholic policies, and agrarian reform, and who saw fascism as an alternative. 

The party’s base of supporters were largely conservative, Catholic, and antirevolutionary. Membership in the party peaked at approximately 400 in 1923. The party published, “Principios Fundamentales del Fascismo Nacional Mexicano” (Fundamental Principles of Mexican National Fascism), in April 1923, defining the party’s goals and principles. Manuel Calero was the party’s presidential nominee in the 1924 Mexican general election. However, members of the party generally opted to back the National Political League and it rapidly became inactive and dissolved. In 1923, the Italian ambassador mocked the effort, calling it a “bad imitation” of Mussolini’s movement.

But that was not the end of fascism and far-right movements in Mexico. Far-right forces opposed to the Revolution and especially its land reforms and secularization would be a problem for years to come. Founded in Mexico City in 1933, the Acción Revolucionaria Mexicanista (Revolutionary Mexicanist Action, ARM), better known as the Camisas Doradas (Gold Shirts), was a fascist, antisemitic, anti-communist, ultra-nationalist paramilitary organization. 

Though brutally antisemitic and xenophobic, the organization declared that its struggle “was not an offensive against foreigners but rather a defense of national interests.” ARM received financial support from the Nazi Party, the Italian Fascist Party, and from Mexican industrialists. The Gold Shirts also received political protection from ex-president Plutarco Elías Calles (in office from 1924 to 1928), who vehemently opposed the Cárdenas government. The organization often violently engaged with labor movements associated with the Mexican Communist Party and with striking workers.

Nicolás Rodríguez Carrasco, a brigadier general under Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution, led ARM during its most active period. Many founding members had been veterans of the Revolution, and their name came from Villa referring to his most elite soldiers as “los dorados” (the golden ones). Operating under the motto of “Mexico for Mexicans,” the organization called for the expulsion of Jews and Chinese as well as those who held anti-fascist political views, supported trade unions, or were communists or socialists. They wanted their businesses expropriated and turned over to “Mexicans.” Rodríguez claimed that blood tests carried out by ethnographers showed that Mexicans and Nordic peoples were of the same racial stock. The group was very active in union busting, with the Gold Shirts instigating violent clashes with striking workers.

Tensions between Calles and Cárdenas led the latter to suppress the Gold Shirts, as the group continued to grow. By 1934, the organization had more than 20 branches across the country. By 1935, ARM had approximately 4,000 members. On November 20, 1935, a violent clash between communists and Gold Shirts in Mexico City’s Zócalo resulted in three deaths and more than 40 injured, including Rodríguez, who was stabbed twice in the abdomen and left critically injured. 

The federal senate sought to ban the organization a day after the riot. But the dissolution didn’t come and in February 1936, the group participated in anti-communist rallies in Monterrey and Puebla (they had already been involved in an incident where Gold Shirts raided Jewish businesses, destroying them and attacking their owners). The Monterrey rally was recorded by fascist film director and Gold Shirts supporter Gustavo Sáenz de Sicilia. Members of ARM engaged in gunfire with the police, leaving 10 members dead. Following this incident, Cárdenas ordered the dissolution of the group. In August 1936, Rodríguez was arrested for promoting “inter-labor conflicts” and expelled from the country. 

Rodríguez moved to Laredo, Texas, and continued to lead the group, establishing an ARM headquarters in Mission, Texas. He approached wealthy Texas oilmen whose assets in Mexico were negatively affected by unions and government policy, receiving funds from wealthy Americans while publishing diatribes against the Mexican government, Jews, communists, and Cárdenas in The McAllen Monitor. 

In 1937, Rodríguez also met with Henry Allen, a prominent figure in the antisemitic Silver Legion, a fascist organization inspired by Hitler. Allen offered Rodríguez protection and both directly received funds from the Nazi Party. By March 1937, Rodríguez was taking in between two and three thousand dollars per month from American and Mexican nationals for ARM. 

Rodriguez’ exile wasn’t the end of the group. Since at least 1935, they had been plotting the overthrow of the Mexican government. That year, Carlos Walterio Steinman, a former colonel in the Mexican Army residing in New York, told Rodríguez he had raised some four million dollars for a “change of government.” The Gold Shirts also received funds to purchase weapons from the former governor of San Luis Potosí, Saturnino Cedillo, a very close friend of Rodríguez. Cedillo, who by 1937 had close ties to the Nazis, had major political and personal grievances against Cárdenas. The Mexican government had received various reports about the plotting and purchases of weapons. 

On November 13, 1938, the plot was launched in Tamaulipas. Troops had already been dispatched at the request of that state’s Governor Marte R. Gómez. Following the thwarted rebellion, Rodríguez’s finances dried up and he lost the support of the Gold Shirts. He remained exiled in Texas while continuing to publish articles for The McAllen Monitor until his death in 1940. Interestingly, this period of history, from 1939-1942, saw an influx of Spaniards, welcomed by Cardenas, who supported the fight for a republic in that country. After the republic’s defeat in the Spanish civil war that brought dictator Francisco Franco to power in 1939, some 20,000 Spanish refugees migrated to Mexico and played important roles in developing sciences, arts, and humanities in the country, and had a major impact on elevating the status of Mexican universities, particularly the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.

Gold Shirts Revival
The 1940 inauguration of Manuel Ávila Camacho as president of Mexico ended the ARM ban, but by then the group had split into two factions, one in Mexico CIty and another in Chihuahua. Joaquín Rodríguez Carrasco’s Chihuahua faction retained the organization’s original objectives and the more radical and militant members. Aniceto López Salazar’s faction in Mexico City moved in an anti-fascist direction, downplaying xenophobia and antisemitism, while remaining opposed to communism and unionized labor. The Mexico City faction was much more amenable to the government, as López Salazar publicly disavowed the group’s past violent actions, and routinely met with government officials to discuss the paramilitary’s role in “maintaining national interests.”

On May 1, 1952, International Workers’ Day, the Gold Shirts attacked contingents of the Communist Party and the Peasant Workers Party in front of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Two members of Communist Youth died, but the movement continued to grow. By the 1960s, membership reached 500,000 in Mexico and the United States. A significant number of adherents belonged to the Mexican military or law enforcement. In the ensuing years, the Mexican government routinely hired the paramilitary group to combat left-wing armed factions. By the 1970s, as donations dried up, the group disappeared. 

Theocratic Movements
Mexico also had other fascist movements that started in the 1930s and lasted for decades. One such was Sinarquism — from the Spanish word sin, “without,” and anarquía, “anarchy.” This ideological strand was pushed by the Unión Nacional Sinarquista (National Sinarquist Union, UNS), a political party founded in 1937 in Guanajuato. UNS opposed policies established after the Revolution, particularly those that reigned in the Catholic Church’s role in society. 

The UNS was established at the instigation of a German professor of languages in Guanajuato, Hellmuth Oskar Schleiter, who was a member of the Nazi Party and a German intelligence agent during WWI. UNS opposed communism, liberalism, and the U.S., and supported Hitler, Mussolini, and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The UNS called for a return to what it considered “Mexican traditions,” meaning Roman Catholicism, Spanish heritage, and a Christian social order centered on the family and local community. The movement was critical of anything judged to be tainted by communism. 

By 1941 Sinarquism claimed one million adherents, and in 1943 four supporters toured the U.S., prompting criticism in American papers that “Mexican-style Fascism” was spreading with the help of some Americans. During WWII, both the Mexican and American governments were concerned that Sinarquists would engage in espionage and other Fifth Column activities including sabotage.

Internal power struggles ultimately hobbled the movement and in 1952 the Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party, PAN), a pro-Catholic party to the right of the longtime ruling party PRI, recruited Sinarquists into its ranks. It was a good fit because, when established in 1939, PAN had clear fascist sympathies. One of its founders, Aquiles Elorduy, published the pro-Nazi, antisemitic magazine La Reacción, which listed among its supporters PAN founders including Manuel Gómez Morín, Gustavo Molina Font, Manuel Herrera y Lasso, and Pedro Zuloaga. Once the Axis began to falter in WWII, the party moved away from fascism and has tried in later years to write out this aspect of its history. In the 1950s and 1960s, remaining Sinarquist political activists continued to press for the restoration of the former powers of the Church, but to little effect. 

Meanwhile other far-right religiously-driven movements popped up. El Yunque (the anvil) arose in the 1950s and is still active today. The secret society’s original goal was to install a theocratic Mexican regime by grooming supporters and then infiltrating political parties and civic organizations, specifically the then-hegemonic PRI. Members were forbidden from speaking about El Yunque in public and according to El Pais, swore loyalty to each other in extravagant rituals, which involved self-flagellation. 

They used false names, while the most fanatical became “combat warrior monks,” who clashed in the streets with Freemasons and members of Opus Dei. They infiltrated civil society organizations and political parties, attacking those who were considered “enemies,” including socialists, pro-choice activists, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In the 1970s, El Yunque set its sights on PAN. When Vicente Fox won the presidency in 2000 on the PAN ticket, El Yunque supporters flooded the federal government. Some, such as the Secretary for Internal Affairs, Carlos Abascal, came to occupy positions in the cabinet. 

While Fox was in office, El Yunque created four organizations. Provida, which received money from the Fox administration and whose leader ended up in prison for embezzlement, and the APN Citizen Coordinator and the Testimony and Hope Movement, which are no longer in existence. Only one, Acción Juvenil (Youth Action) remains active. Their influence continued during the subsequent administration of Felipe Calderón. 

This activity remains, but is now anchored in the global anti-LGBTQ+ movement. In August 2021, an investigation based on documents posted on Wikileaks revealed that through a series of allied Spanish anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, specifically Hazte Oír and CitizenGO, El Yunque has penetrated societies and governments in some 50 nations. And these Spanish organizations, where the movement is now rooted, are deeply connected to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations in the U.S., including the International Organization for the Family, which sponsors the World Congress of Families. Mexico reportedly remains one of the network’s principal centers of operations and fundraising.

Mexican Racism Today
The long history of racism and xenophobia in Mexico continues to affect the country today. In general, people who are Black and Indigenous have fewer economic resources and education and predominate in the agricultural and working classes, while lighter-skinned Mexicans continue to make up the economic and ruling elite.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), “skin color continues to be a factor in social stratification…with lighter skin color, [there are] more opportunities to have better paid jobs and better managerial positions.” The National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) has reported that 71 percent of Indigenous people live in poverty. The national discrimination survey conducted by INEGI in 2017 found that three out of 10 respondents believed that the country’s Indigenous population suffers from poverty due to their culture. 

Most people who identify as Afro-Mexicans are marginalized and poor. In 2019, for the first time, Afro-Mexicans were recognized legally as a racial category, and included in the 2020 census. According to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED), Indigenous people, the LGBTQ+ community, migrants, and Black people, are the most discriminated against groups in Mexico. In 2003, the government established a National Council to Prevent Discrimination to address these issues.

Anti-immigrant sentiment remains, but is lately directed at Central American migrants. In 2017, a march was held to protest the policies of the incoming government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photos of people carrying banners that said: “No more undesirable immigrants” were circulated online. There are also political parties and NGOs in Mexico using racist and anti-immigrant slogans and speeches against migrants. The most extreme xenophobic expressions were made by the Movimiento Nacionalista Mexicano (Mexican Nationalist Movement), a group that linked immigrants with the violent El Salvadoran criminal gang, Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. 

Hate Crimes
This discrimination has translated into violence. In 2019, at least 117 LGBTQ+ people were murdered, a number that has been rising. Transgender individuals in particular have been targeted. From 2017 to 2023, the rights group Letra S has documented at least 513 targeted killings of LGBTQ+ people in Mexico, including notable transgender activists. 

This increase in violence may be a backlash similar to what has happened in other areas of the world when improvements in LGBTQ+ rights occur, as many states allowed same-sex marriage in the years leading up to its federal legalization in 2022. There is also the “femicide” crisis, referring to gender-based killings targeting women, that have been rife across Mexico. Just in the city of Tijuana, there were 44 such murders in 2022. The Estado de México had 89 such murders in 2023, Nuevo Léon had 73 in 2023, and Mexico City had 55 that year. Across Mexico, the numbers are in the thousands, and like much crime in the country, often not reported or investigated. 

Hate crimes are only one aspect of the violence plaguing Mexico today. Cartel violence is a serious and growing problem, leading to numerous deaths and disappearances each year. Thousands of people continue to disappear and in 2023, for the sixth year running, Mexico officially registered more than 30,000 murders, marking the most violent period in the country’s recent history. According to Human Rights Watch, over 105,000 people were officially considered missing as of September 2023. Most disappeared after 2006. In April 2023, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances presented a report on its visit to Mexico. The committee criticized Mexican officials for their “passive attitude” toward the disappearances and expressed concern over “near total impunity” for these crimes. 

Mexico is also one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists and human rights defenders and during the 2024 election campaign, dozens of candidates were assassinated in cartel violence. Cartel members, who are particularly involved in controlling local political bodies and police forces, sprayed election events with gunfire. And then there is state-sanctioned violence. Since 2007, successive governments have deployed the military domestically to fight organized crime, usurping traditional law enforcement responsibilities. Soldiers, police, and prosecutors have committed serious, widespread human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings, with near total impunity. Between 2007 and 2022, the army killed 5,335 civilians, according to government data.

Far-Right Activism Growing
The current president-elect, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, is the first female Mexican president and the first Jewish person to hold that position. She was handpicked for the 2024 elections by outgoing Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was elected in a landslide in 2018, after having narrowly lost a run for the presidency in the 2006 elections, which were marred by irregularities, and having also been a presidential candidate in 2012. 

Known colloquially as AMLO, López Obrador’s government, true to its leftist credentials, has generally expanded rights for marginalized groups, particularly women and the LGBTQ+ community. Same-sex marriage is now legal and conversion therapy, the discredited and dangerous practice used to change a person’s sexual orientation, banned. Mexico’s abortion laws have been loosened under López Obrador. In 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court unanimously ruled that criminalizing abortion is unconstitutional, setting a precedent across the whole country. Before 2019, abortion had been severely restricted outside of Mexico City, where it was legalized in 2007. 

López Obrador’s domination of Mexican politics, which will now extend to the newly elected Claudia Sheinbaum, and passage of progressive measures has engendered a backlash, particularly from religious, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-abortion elements. And the two parties to the right of his, the PRI and PAN, have increasingly reached out to likeminded far-right groups both domestically and internationally, including in the U.S.

As the Jacobin reported, the far right is increasingly favoring violent imagery when it comes to these progressive policies and movements. In 2021, the leader of the opposition alliance Va Por México, Claudio X. González, son of the president of Kimberly-Clark de México, claimed that the progressive turn in Mexican politics would end “badly, very badly.” He continued, “Note must be taken of all those who, by action or omission, encouraged the actions and deeds of the current administration and harmed Mexico. May no one forget who took the side of populist and destructive authoritarianism.” 

Just days after González’s post, a conservative coalition of congressmen called Deputy Prevention and Health Promotion Secretary Hugo López-Gatell who headed up Mexico’s pandemic response, an “assassin” from the podium of the Chamber of Deputies, adding “we’re coming for you.” Then a PAN congresswoman presented López-Gatell’s boss with a fake tombstone indicating his date of birth but with a question mark next to his date of death, and asked how he wanted to be remembered in his epitaph. 

Meanwhile, a new specifically anti-López Obrador political party, Frente Nacional Anti-AMLO (National Anti-AMLO Front, FRENA), was created in 2019, headed by businessman and former Guanjuato Governor Gilberto Lozano. The party and Lozano believe that foreign forces, of which López Obrador is an agent, are bent on bringing communism to Mexico and destroying the nation. This perceived plot seeks to take over the country by introducing drugs, homosexuality, abortion, gender ideology, the dismantling of religion, and other nefarious policies, Lozano said in a 2020 YouTube video with more than 53,000 views. 

In September 2021, senators from the two parties currently out of power, PAN and PRI, gave a very public welcome to Santiago Abascal, head of Vox, the Spanish far-right party that has links to racial extremists. In a meeting held in the senate building, the members of the two parties signed on to the Madrid Letter, which consigns them to liberate Latin America from “Communist-inspired totalitarian regimes,” which presumably includes López Obrador’s, that, the letter claims, are disseminating their “criminal and ideological project” across the region to subvert liberal democracies and the rule of law. Vox has been building alliances with other far-right actors across the region and in Europe, a network of the like-minded.

The meeting didn’t go down well in Mexico, and senators who had taken pictures with Abascal later frantically tried to distance themselves from him. The PRI denied any official sanction of the event, even that PRI senators had attended, before claiming that those who were there came of their own accord. The PAN, for its part, rushed out a press release insisting that the joint letter was in no way a “political agreement,” but rather a simple statement in which like-minded individuals agreed to work together. Vox, meanwhile, was gleefully undermining the parties’ attempts to distance themselves, posting online about the event and the attendees.

New Far-Right Celebrities Have Ties to U.S.
New far-right political figures with ties to the U.S. have emerged in Mexico. Emblematic of this is Eduardo Verástegui, who organized and hosted the first CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) conference held in Mexico City in November 2022. (It is unclear if the Mexico branch is still functioning as its website is now down, but Verástegui attended CPAC in Hungary and Washington, D.C., in 2024). Verástegui had already been to CPAC Texas in 2021 and has built relationships with the far right in other countries, traveling In May 2022, to Budapest, Hungary, to participate in the 2022 Transatlantic Summit IV hosted by the transnational anti-LGBTQ+ organization Political Network for Values (PNfV). He regularly posts selfies with American leaders like Trump, Mike Pence, and Steve Bannon, and others like Katalin Novák, the former president of Hungary and former president of the PNfV.

Verástegui led the party, Movimiento Viva México, until he failed to get on the ballot for the June 2024 election. Close to American far-right movements, Verástegui is a popular and charismatic figure, with his YouTube channel having 374,000 subscribers and his Facebook page, where he regularly posts videos of himself saying the rosary, having 2.1 million followers. 

Verástegui was a minor Mexican celebrity when he discovered far-right politics. He had been in a boy band, a telenovela actor, and a somewhat successful Hollywood actor. In 2002, he had a revelation and rededicated his life to God, becoming an anti-abortion activist and taking a vow of celibacy. In 2019, he and American Trump supporter and “My Pillow” activist Mike Lindell produced the anti-abortion film Unplanned, partially funded by Lindell. In 2020, Trump appointed Verástegui to the President’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity. 

Verástegui has become increasingly radical, espousing anti-LGBTQ+ positions on social media. On March 14, 2022, he tweeted that Lucifer is the father of the left and that God is conservative, then later walked back the comment, clarifying that he believes abortions and gender ideology are inspired by Lucifer. On April 10, 2023, he tweeted that gender ideology, generally a euphemism for LGBTQ+ rights, is linked to pedophilia. Verástegui also produced the film Sound of Freedom, released on July 4, 2023. The Christian/QAnon-adjacent thriller has earned nearly $250 million at the box office and is based on the story of Tim Ballard, who claims to have rescued thousands of sex trafficking victims. 

After the movie’s release, Ballard was accused of sexual misconduct and forced to step down from his role at Operation Underground Railroad. Despite the mounting charges and accusations against him, Ballard went on to appear with Verástegui at CPAC in Washington, D.C., in February 2024, discussing sex trafficking. On December 3, 2023, Verástegui posted his position on gender ideology to Twitter, which the media likened to a manifesto. “Let it be very clear. If they give me the opportunity to be President of Mexico, I will not allow the entire LGBT alphabet and more to continue contaminating our nation. I do not want Mexican children sexualized and indoctrinated in schools with books that promote gender ideology.” He is under investigation by the National Elections Institute for allegedly accepting an illegal campaign donation of $390,000 from the U.S.-based consultancy firm, 305 Partners LLC. The website for Movimiento Viva Mexico has since been disabled. The organization’s Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram pages are still available, but show no recent activity. In January 2024 Verástegui announced that he will create a new political party in 2025.

CPAC isn’t the only American outfit reaching across the southern border. Another new far-right group is México Republicano, a “bi-national political party” that is staffed with both Americans and Mexicans, many with histories of extremism and anti-LGBTQ+ activism (see below). The group gave its full support to CPAC Mexico and aims to be a nationwide political party soon.

Fascism Resurging
There is currently a resurgence of neo-Nazi and fascist movements in Mexico, but they are much, much smaller than their brethren in places like Brazil and Argentina. This may be because of how the Mexican nation is conceived of, which doesn’t quite jive with traditional notions of white supremacy. The National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) claimed in 2022 to have no evidence of neo-Nazi groups in Mexico, but acknowledged “the existence of supremacist hate narratives, which incite various forms of violence” against different social groups. That same year, the Mexican Senate approved a reform that carries a jail sentence of up to three years for anyone who spreads ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, or who incites acts of violence for racist motives. This reform was likely related to public disclosures about neo-Nazi and black metal concerts that attracted hundreds. 

Additionally, the Monterrey-based bookstore and online publisher, Editorial Heidelberg, specializing in far-right and neo-Nazi literature, has played a role in disseminating Nazi and other hateful ideologies, reprinting antisemitic texts and organizing neo-Nazi hate music events. Fascist clothing is being sold by the Mexican outfit Fachos.mx, and popularized on Twitter, with slogans including “It’s a beautiful day to smash feminazism,”  “No to gender ideology,” and “Make Mexico Great Again.” 

The Mexican fascist and antisemitic writer Salvador Borrego has seen a resurgence, his works reprinted and sold alongside copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and the notorious antisemitic conspiracy, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in Mexican bookstores and stalls. Some neo-Nazi and fascist actors blame López Obrador’s success on a Jewish-Masonic communist international plot. 

The rise of far-right movements in Mexico represents a significant shift in the country’s political landscape. Despite progress on LGBTQ+ rights and women’s reproductive freedoms under recent left-leaning governments, a backlash has emerged in the form of numerous anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion, and xenophobic groups. Many of these organizations have forged connections with international far-right movements, particularly in the United States and Spain. A resurgence of neo-Nazi and fascist groups and ideas, though still relatively small, is concerning. Meanwhile, deeply entrenched racism continues to marginalize migrants, Indigenous and Afro-Mexican populations. The prevalence of hate crimes, especially against LGBTQ+ individuals, alongside widespread cartel violence and state-sanctioned human rights abuses, is a significant challenge. As Mexico grapples with these challenges alongside a new elected left-leaning president, the interplay between progressive reforms and reactionary movements will likely shape Mexico’s social and political future in significant ways.

This report most certainly underestimates the actual number of far-right hate and extremist groups in Mexico, and does not reflect the extent to which individuals who may share these beliefs but are not involved in organized entities. Cities marked with an asterisk indicate an organization’s headquarters where it has more than one chapter.

Mexican Group Descriptions

Abogados Cristianos (Christian Lawyers, AC)

Location: Valladolid, Spain;* Mexico City

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender, Anti-Woman

Founded in 2021, Abogados Cristianos (Christian Lawyers, AC) is headquartered in Valladolid, Spain, but has a Mexican chapter and is active in Latin America. The group reportedly has ties to El Yunque, an allegedly secret Mexican society that is ultraCatholic, antisemitic, and antiliberal, and has had members in powerful government positions. Its Spanish leader appeared in a 2015 book titled El YunqueLa ultraderecha en el poder about the group. According to its website, AC is a Spanish non-profit organization made up of lawyers, prosecutors, jurists, professors, and law students. AC is primarily an anti-abortion organization that works to restrict women’s reproductive rights. But the group is also rabidly anti-LGBTQ+, railing against transgender rights, sex education, and the “destructive…gender ideology.” The Mexican branch describes itself as defending “the fundamental rights of all Mexicans” and its tagline is “religious freedom, life and family.” Like their Spanish founders, they believe Mexican law should reflect biblical values. The Mexican spokesperson is Carlos Ramírez, who in an interview with the conspiracy outfit Epoch Times, severely criticized the Mexican government, particularly President López Obrador, for restricting the religious freedoms of the Catholic Church. 

AC fights in the courts against same-sex marriage, LGBTQ+ adoption, and single parents. On their Twitter feed, they denounce Mexico’s criminalization of conversion therapy as a tool to “persecute” health providers and others. The organization acts as the legal arm of the Catholic ultra-right in Mexico. AC is also closely aligned with the Spanish far-right political party Vox, which has ties to Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. High profile Vox officials have closely worked with the group, and AC’s employees in Spain have at times run for office on the Vox ticket. Mexican law prohibits foreign individuals or organizations from involving themselves in politics, but Vox’s influence on Mexico’s far right is evident in AC and several other groups. Their highest-profile case came in 2010 when they submitted an amicus brief to Mexico’s Supreme Court opposing same-sex marriage in Mexico City, which was ultimately legalized. Despite the setback, the group remains unwavering. They frequently collaborate with the National Union of Parents (UNP) on campaigns against things like free textbooks. According to their website, more than half a million people have signed on to various petitions opposing issues like sex education in schools, gender ideology, and drag queen story hours. In May 2024, the group won an injunction against new government textbooks for students in a part of Mexico City, which AC claimed were  “ideologically” problematic. 

Congreso Iberoamericano por la Vida y la Familia/Evangelico Digital (Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family, CIVF/Digital Evangelical)

Location: Mexico City

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender

El Congreso Iberoamericano por La Vida y la Family (Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family, CIVF) was founded in Mexico City in 2017 as a response to the legalization of abortion. CIVF grew out of the Iniciativa Ciudadana por la Vida y por la Familia or Citizens Initiative for Life and Family, formed in 2016 as a reaction to the constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriages. CIVF claims that within a year of its founding, 17 Latin American countries had signed on and that 400 people attended its first annual conference, where they divided the organization into three congresses, North, Central, and South America. CIVF seeks to be a platform for all Latin American nations and has Spanish members. It claims to represent 130 organizations in Mexico and fights the “globalist agenda.” Their focus is gender ideology, although they are also anti-abortion and anti-sex education. Their mission as presented on YouTube calls this “defending life and the family through public policy.” 

Founded by longtime pastor Aarón Lara Sánchez, CIVF is very much an evangelical organization. The group is particularly incensed with any acceptance of LGBTQ+ people and rights. “Overwhelming pro-LGBTQ+ presence in songs, with non-binary singers and occult practitioners,” reads a social media post on May 14, 2024, linking to an article calling the 2024 Eurovision performance contest an exercise in gender ideology and satanism. The latter is a recurring theme for CIVF, which views Mexico as in a state of spiritual warfare. The media outlet it frequently cites is CIVF’s own publishing arm, Evangelico Digital, founded in 2018 and designed specifically for a Latin American audience. Lara previously founded Protestante Digital in 2003, directed at the Spanish-speaking evangelical community. The group is highly disappointed with Mexico’s move to the left under López Obrador. When Claudia Sheinbaum won the presidential election in June 2024, CIVF was apoplectic, saying to their 7,000 followers on Facebook that, “A party that promotes the cult of death, which is abortionist, pro gender ideology and anti-Christian and has received, from most of the country (including a broad sector of evangelical churches), an endorsement to govern under that philosophy.” They added, “We are in the darkest of the night.”

Lara was an invited speaker at CPAC 2022, in Mexico, the group’s first event in the country and part of its growing international presence. The two-day conference featured former Trump advisor Steve Bannon raging against the “globalist threat” by video from Arizona; American anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson falsely suggesting López Obrador stole the Mexican presidential election in 2018, and Trump, in a surprise pre-recorded video message, congratulating CPAC México organizer Eduardo Verástegui on his leadership in the inaugural event. There were unsavory characters present, including the president of the Mexican Republicans, Juan Iván Peña Neder, who spent two years in a maximum-security Matamoros prison on gang rape charges he denies. 

They are also active at the supranational governmental level. Lara and CIVF delegates attended and addressed the Organization of American States in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022. They also applied in 2021 for consultative status at the UN. CIVF claimed to have established an office in Washington, D.C., to gain access to multinational organizations such as the United Nations at their 2021 meeting, held virtually, which was reportedly attended by Valerie Huber, formerly of Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services. They also announced a pro-life youth initiative in Argentina designed to train young people in dismantling feminist discourse and using social media to advance pro-life arguments. They have held conferences across Latin America in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Panama, and Uruguay, among others, as well as Mexico. On January 30, 2024, CIVF congratulated Argentinian President Javier Milei on declaring 2024 as the “Year of the Defense of Life, Liberty and Property,” and praised activists in Peru for protesting inclusive bathrooms, and Cordoba, Spain, for declaring itself a pro-life city, which CIVF called, “A great success in a country in which gender ideology has managed to legislate practically its entire agenda.” 

Frente Nacional Anti-AMLO (National Front Against López Obrador, FRENA)

Location: Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender

Founded in 2019, the Frente Nacional Anti-AMLO (National Front Against López Obrador, FRENA) is an opposition movement whose main goal, which failed, was to unseat Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, known colloquially as AMLO. The group planned to use legal tools, social pressure, and the media to oust the president. The movement was co-founded by prominent businessmen, including Pedro Luis Martín Bringas and Gilberto Lozano. FRENA hoped to topple López Obrador by 2020. Despite all attempts, including a number of mass protests and open letters asking U.S. presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden to take legal action against López Obrador “for his crimes,” FRENA was unsuccessful. López Obrador’s handpicked successor Claudia Sheinbaum was elected to the presidency in June 2024.

FRENA was co-founded and led, until June 2023, by Gilberto Lozano, who was governor of Guanajuato from 2006 to 2012. Allied groups to FRENA led by Lozano include Congreso Nacional Ciudadano and Evolucion Mexicana. FRENA is anti-communist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-gender ideology, and anti-feminist. Lozano has equated gender ideology and trans children with pedophilia and zoophilia. He calls schools “homosexuality labs” bent on indoctrinating children with their “rainbow religion” and therefore “destroying families.” The National Anti-AMLO Front comprises an alliance of some of the most fanatically far-right forces in Mexico. FRENA characterizes the elected government as a “communist dictatorship,” and claims López Obrador, a center-left progressive nationalist, is part of a “conspiracy to implement communism through gender equity, education equality, and homosexuality,” The Gray Zone reported in 2020 after FRENA led two separate protests against López Obrador that blocked traffic across Mexico.

FRENA and Lozano believe that the menace of the Sao Paulo Forum, which Mexico joined under López Obrador, is real and imminent, and that foreign forces, of which López Obrador is an agent, are bent on bringing communism to Mexico and destroying the nation. The Sao Paulo Forum was founded in 1990 and is an association of left-wing political parties in Latin America and the Caribbean. Far-right movements and political parties have long claimed the forum is actually a front for communism and left-wing extremism. For FRENA, the forum is plotting to take over Mexico by introducing drugs, homosexuality, abortion, gender ideology, the dismantling of religion, and other nefarious goals, Lozano said in a 2020 YouTube video with more than 53,000 views. 

Lozano is a wealthy businessman from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, who frequently rants against López Obrador and progressive values from the confines of his opulent mansion. He earned his fortune as director of the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world, FEMSA, a position he left in 2000. FRENA’s May 30, 2020, car caravan protests of López Obrador in Guadalajara and Mexico City managed to shut down both cities partially. The protesters demanded López Obrador’s resignation, and called him a “communist,” “dictator,” and “chavista,” in reference to the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. On June 13 and 14, 2020, FRENA claimed to have held similar caravans in 140 cities in Mexico, the United States, Holland, and Canada. They also held a 5-week-long sit-in beginning in September 2020, in which supporters set up tents in Mexico City’s Zócalo in protest of the president’s policies. FRENA claimed 183,000 people attended its protest march on October 3, 2020. On June 14, 2023, Lozano resigned from FRENA to run as an independent, write-in presidential candidate in the June 2, 2024, elections, but FRENA continues to function.

Frente Nacional Por La Familia (National Front for the Family, FNF)

Location: Mexico City;* Naucalpan, Estado de México; Celaya, Guanajuato; Chilpancingo, Guerrero; Taxco, Guerrero; Pachuca,​ Hidalgo; Huejutla, Hidalgo; Puebla; Queretaro; San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato; Tijuana, Baja California; La Paz, Baja California Sur; Reynosa, Tamaulipas; Tampico, Tamaulipas; Tlaxcala; Torreón, Coahuila; Tabasco; Xalapa, Veracruz; Chicago, IL, USA

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender, Religious Nationalist

The Frente Nacional por la Familia (National Front for the Family, FNF), is a far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ Catholic civil association in Mexico that advocates for what it considers to be traditional family values. It has formal chapters across the country and is transnational, having a chapter in Chicago. FNF was founded in 2016 as a response to then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s initiative to legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level and allow same-sex couples to adopt children. FNF’S founder and head, Rodrigo Iván Cortés Jimenez, told Al Jazeera at the time that marriage should be for procreation and as the basis of a heterosexual family. “Adults can have their relationship whichever way they want, but if we’re talking about the institution that links minors in a stable relationship with their parents, we’re talking about marriage – the only institution that gives that link to children,” Jimenez said.

Cortés Jimenez also is co-founder and vice president of the transnational anti-LGBTQ+ organization, Political Network for Values. Leonardo García Camarena is FNF’s vice president. FNF, which rails against progressive “attacks on the family,” claims to be an umbrella group for more than 1,000 smaller organizations across Mexico with millions of members. It campaigns against initiatives and legislation that it views as threatening the traditional family structure centered around a married man and woman. This includes lobbying efforts against same-sex marriage and sex education in schools. 

FNF has been actively involved in protests and legal challenges to block the expansion of LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights in Mexico, organizing nationwide marches that regularly draw thousands to the streets across the country. Their first march in 2016, where they were joined by Catholics and members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, brought out supporters in 120 cities in 31 of Mexico’s 32 states. FNF reports that parents in Colombia, El Salvador, Spain, Brazil, Chile, and Peru protested in solidarity at the Mexican embassies in their respective countries. Their influence played a role in Peña Nieto’s party losing seven of 12 governorships in the subsequent election. 

Although Peña Nieto’s initiative ultimately failed, same-sex marriage not becoming legal nationwide until 2022, it still served as a rallying cry for those, like FNF, opposing rights for LGBTQ+ people, same-sex marriage, abortion, surrogacy, secular education policies, and so-called “gender ideology” education. FNF also adamantly supports access to the utterly discredited practice of conversion therapy, the process of changing one’s sexual orientation or identity, described as akin to torture by the UN. When conversion therapy was outlawed in Mexico City in 2020, the group was hysterical, “Today is a regrettable day for the State of Mexico, since a law was approved that will seek to stigmatize and prevent people who want to treat gender dysphoria, also seeking to disqualify the natural biological sexual dimension, even opening the door to imprison parents, religious ministers and experts who apply therapy or counseling in this matter.” The group is a frequent guest at the American-run annual anti-LGBTQ+ gathering, World Congress of Families (WCF), where Cortés Jimenez has been a featured speaker. FNF enjoys the support of WCF’s president, American Brian S. Brown. 

Cortés Jimenez was convicted in 2023 for gender-based political violence against a transgender member of congress, Salma Luévano, whom he repeatedly and deliberately misgendered on social media. Cortés was given a symbolic punishment upon conviction, fined about 20,000 pesos and ordered to publish the court ruling and an apology written by the court to his social media accounts, daily, for 30 days. Cortés was also ordered to take a course on “gender-based political violence” and was entered into the National Registry of Persons Sanctioned in Political Matters against Women. The American powerhouse anti-LGBTQ+ legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADFI), represented Cortés in his failed appeal. ADFI also announced in January, 2024, that they had filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Cortés. 

Frente Nacionalista de México (Mexican Nationalist Front, FNM) 

Location: Mexico City,* Morelos; Acapulco, Guerrero; San Luis Potosi; Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca; Puebla; Chihuahua; Guanajuato

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Antisemitic

Formed in 2006 as the Organización por la Voluntad Nacional (Organization for National Will), the group adopted its current name, Frente Nacionalista de México (Mexican Nationalist Front, FNM), in 2012. It claims 3,000 members across Mexico and its slogan is “Mexico for Mexicans.” Leader Juan Carlos Lopez Lee disavows violence, discrimination, and racism officially, although his rhetoric and policies betray those positions. FNM is also quite enamored with Eduardo Verástegui, whose X (formerly Twitter) posts they regularly retweet.

The group’s website details its platform, which openly appropriates elements of fascism. Lopez has acknowledged that the group’s ideology includes elements of fascism and National Socialism, but rejects that it is fascist and should be considered nationalist. FNM embraces pan-Hispanism and seeks to reclaim Central America for Mexico, which was part of New Spain during the colonial era, and lands lost to the United States in 1848, transforming the expanded state into a new Mexico. “Our nation was born as a Great Empire and must be so again in the future. The supreme goal is to ensure that the new generations, here and on the other side of the Rio Grande, fight to reestablish the territorial unity of the homeland…For this, however, it is necessary that we also fight to achieve great political and social changes: the replacement of this decadent Masonic republic with a strong and functioning state good, denounce the parties that have defrauded the people and combat the degenerate American culture that the media imposes on us,” Lopez told Proceso magazine in 2008.

FNM celebrates Mexican antisemite and historical revisionist Salvador Borrego, who blamed WWII on Zionism in his “historical work,” such as Derrota Mundial (“Worldwide Defeat”), which lamented Hitler’s loss and called it a defeat for the entire world by international Jewish evil.  Borrego is revered by fascists in Mexico and abroad. FNM also supports Spanish Holocaust denier Pedro Varela, and offers to provide his books to interested Facebook followers. FNM and Lopez are vehemently anti-immigrant and spoke to Fox News in 2017 decrying the influx of Haitians. Haitians are problematic for Lopez because, he surmised, they may choose to take Mexican wives if allowed to stay in the country. “If Africans are being given jobs, it should be in an organized way, they should be allowed to stay, but 40,000 people… seems abusive to us. They want to give them a one-year extension. And the women will want to have children with the Haitians or things like that, which is what’s going to happen,” he explained. Members have also protested caravans of immigrants coming from Central America. Lopez also told Vice that his organization’s campaign against Central American and Haitian migrants is to keep “Mexico from paying for the debts of other infamous governments.”

FNM rejects membership in most global organizations (WTO, NAFTA) but is pro-environment and anti-fossil fuels, which are controlled by the Mexican government under the current political regime. FNM rejects Mexico’s current system of birthright citizenship and reserves the right to deny certain ethnicities and religious followers’ citizenship. “As for those ethno-religious minorities whose mentality makes them unassimilable to the national community, they cannot be considered as members of the people regardless of their place of birth.” FNM seeks the reinstatement of national military service and advocates for a return to capital punishment. “Regarding the death penalty, we believe that its use is legitimate in cases of kidnapping, homicide, pedophilia or any crime that physically or morally destroys the life of another human being.” A complete judicial reform is necessary, the organization argues. “With respect to judges, we advocate the purification of the courts, the application of oral trials.” Abortion, which is legal in most Mexican states, is viewed as “a symbol of the dehumanization, promiscuity and selfishness of capitalist society.” FNM calls for a national, mandatory physical fitness program since “poor physical fitness is the cause of ridicule and complexes in children, the practice of physical culture should be mandatory in all spheres of national life, with special emphasis on weak children and young people or those with weight problems.”

FNM also supports an armed struggle to overthrow the government–just not right now because the cartels control most weapons. In an interview, Lopez said, “if we talk about the fact that we want an armed struggle, because here the only ones who have weapons are criminals, organized crime. Any armed struggle can be contaminated with the interests of drug trafficking, which is what happened in Colombia. We must be very careful with terms such as armed struggle. At this time, as long as the crime prevails as it is, it should not be resorted to.”

México Republicano (Republican Mexico, MR)

Location: Chihuahua

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+

México Republicano (Republican Mexico, MR), is a relatively new political party led by director Juan Iván Peña Neder, spokesperson Gricha Raether Palma, and American Larry Rubin, a longtime Republican operative who has lived on both sides of the border. MR is a far-right political party that was officially recognized by the Chihuahua State Electoral Division in May 2023, although its origins date back further. Mexico Republicano’s Twitter page was started in 2019. Prior to being officially recognized, the nascent party claimed in 2022 that it sought to develop a lobbying group in Washington, D.C., for Mexican Americans. Peña Neder claimed that Mexico Republicano had chapters in 20 Mexican states and a presence in more than 100 cities across the country, though they are most dominant in Chihuahua. Mexico Republicano held a press conference in Baja California in July, 2022, announcing its intention to become the first binational political party. The party claims to represent businessmen who are being terrorized by the leftist government. Juan Carlos Hernández Mendoza, president of the party’s state executive committee, told La Verdad, “We want to defend life from its own conception, freedoms, property and we want to defend the family. If those principles, that means the far right…that’s what we are.”

Some MR leadership allegedly have sordid histories. According to an in-depth report on the group by Ipas, Peña Neder has been accused of sexual violence, racism, corruption, and embracing fascism. He served in the Ministry of the Interior during President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s administration from 2006 to 2012. In 2013, Peña Neder “created the clandestine group, México Despierta (Wake Up Mexico), which had a philo-fascist and antisemitic edge, was in favor of Aryan supremacy and the sterilization of indigenous people,” Arestegui Noticias reported. A professed admirer of Adolf Hitler, in 2013, La Jornada published a photograph of him standing in front of a sword and a Crusader shield, with his right arm outstretched, making a Nazi salute. In 2011, Peña Neder was imprisoned for his part in the gang rape of his ex-wife. He was deemed a “dangerous subject” and transferred to a maximum-security prison. Two years later he gained early release following apparent interventions from high level PAN officials. Peña Neder has also been accused of corruption related to the management of illegal casinos. Peña Neder attended and spoke at CPAC Mexico in 2022 at the invitation of Eduardo Verástegui. He also has said he supports “pro-American conservatism” and backed the rabidly anti-LGBTQ+  Verástegui for president in 2024. 

Other México Republicano officials include Juan Dabdoub Giacoman, founder and president of Consejo Mexicano de la Familia (Mexican Family Council). Like Peña Neder, Giacoman has a sordid history of violence and far-right agitating. In 2017, he partnered on an anti-LGBTQ+ public relations campaign created by the Spanish anti-LGBTQ+ organizations Hazte Oír and CitizenGO. The campaign featured a bus touring Mexico emblazoned with discriminatory messages against LGBTQ+ people and sex education. Giacoman was previously the spokesperson for the Frente Nacional por la Familia (National Front for the Family), which kicked him out in 2017 for publicly assaulting a woman.

Patria Unida Por Un Mexico Valiente (United Homeland for a Brave Mexico, PUMV)

Location: Mexico City

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender, Religious Nationalist

Patria Unida Por Un Mexico Valiente (United Homeland for a Brave Mexico, PUMV) is a far-right organization led by a married couple, Alicia Galván López and Francisco Humberto López Vega, with strong international ties, including to American far-right organizations associated with the authoritarian plan for the next U.S. conservative president, Project 2025. It is also closely linked–almost a Mexican chapter–to the Spanish far-right party, Vox, which has ties to neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. PUMV’s leaders have denied the connection to Vox, likely because Mexico has laws against foreign agents interfering in Mexican politics, but it is widely viewed as an offshoot of the party. Vox has openly endorsed PUMV.

PUMV’s founder, Alicia (sometimes Alice) Galván Lopez, was sent by her employer, Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party, PAN) Senator Alejandra Reynoso, to Europe in October 2021, for a two-week training with several far-right organizations, including Spain’s Vox, Poland’s Law and Justice Party, the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union, and France’s National Front, media reports claim. Upon her return, Galván launched PUMV. The organization offers regular webinars, has leadership academies for young people, and has three youth members selected to be part of Mexico’s youth senate program. 

Galván was a political advisor who worked her way to power through the PAN party infrastructure, and she holds a law degree and a master’s degree in government and public policy from the Universidad Panamericana. She also has degrees from the Villanueva University Center in Madrid, Spain, as well as a diploma from the University of San Diego. Rabidly anti-communist, anti-transgender, anti-gender ideology, anti-women’s reproductive rights, anti-LGBTQ+ rights, and devoutly Catholic, PUMV has been quite successful in weaving together like-minded organizations in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. PUMV is part of the Madrid Forum and signed on to the far-right Letter from Madrid, which decries rising communism in Latin America. PUMV is the only Mexican organization that is part of the “US-Mexico Conservative Policy Coalition, anchored by the Texas Public Policy Institute, which includes the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Renewing America, and the America First Policy Institute – all of which include former Trump administration officials who served and other Republicans,” La Jornada reports. The group’s website features items on American politics and a page calling far-right Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, known for his anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives, “the worst nightmare for the ‘woke’ movement in the United States.”

Founded in 2022, the party’s leader told media that PUMV’s mission was to unite Mexicans against the extreme left, which it claims has imposed hateful ideas bent on destroying Mexican civilization. PUMV has direct links to fascist European organizations, particularly Vox in Spain. The organization reportedly has support from many on the far right, including in “Chile, José Antonio Kast, and the pro-secretary of the National Board of the Republican Party, Macarena Bravo Rojas; from Spain, the president of VOX in Catalonia, Ignacio Garriga from Uruguay, the Executive Director of CESCOS, Pedro Isern; from El Salvador, Cesar Reyes, National Deputy; from Colombia, Miguel Cetina and Eduardo Fernández, Head of Studies at the Disenso Foundation; from Peru, Vanya Thais, political commentator and Director of Pro Libertad Peru.”

Galván and Lopez appeared on the U.S. Project 2025-supporter Center for a Secure Free Society’s Border Wars podcast on February 14, 2024, discussing their group’s origins, their unique position as a Mexican conservative think tank, and their desire to unite conservative organizations in Mexico and abroad. Like the Christian Nationalists at Project 2025, PUMV supports the “traditional family” and claims that “the family constituted in the marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental nucleus of all social organization.” Galván is a fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), an official advisor of Project 2025, which is an election denying organization that rails against transgender health care, pandemic measures, DEI programs, and the Black Lives Matter movement. In March 2023, Galván addressed the TPPF Summit and the problems plaguing her home country. “Every day our freedom is more and more restricted by things such as a gender ideology that has been unilaterally imposed.” 

On May 31, 2023, Galván appeared on Eduardo Verástegui’s Viva Mexico party’s podcast attacking gender ideology and its degradation of women, railing against the “fight to destroy people’s own nature. And then it is destroying and gaining women’s spaces. And we see it in sports, today we see it in Congress where spaces that should be occupied by women are occupied by trans deputies, right? So, it is total degradation.”

Galván has written positively about the Cristero War, a nearly three-year battle between Catholics and the secularizing government of President Plutarco Elias Calles in the 1920s, in which an estimated 90,000 people were killed. The Mexican Catholic Church backed the rebellion, which was targeted at the anticlerical provisions of the 1917 Constitution. Media reports say that Galván, who is a devout Catholic, describes the Catholic Cristeros as “heroes who gave us a homeland.” Also, according to Galván, “The Gachupines”, the 16th Century Spanish rulers of Mexico, administered their empire, “with love conquered hearts with a humanism that transcends.” Gachupin is a Nahuatl word that means “he who hits you in the head with a boot or a spur,” and most historians view the Spanish Empire, especially its treatment of Indigenous people and their forced assimilation to Catholicism, as less than humane. 

ProLife Army (PLA)

Location: Mexico City,* Zacatecas, Colima, Nuevo León, Jalisco, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender

ProLife Army (PLA) was founded on February 5, 2021, and is focused on rolling back women’s reproductive rights and anti-LGBTQ+, anti-trans, and anti-gender ideology activism. Founder Carlos Ramírez, speaking to CPAC Mexico in 2022, told the assembled that “practically all of Latin America is painted red. The political left governs practically the entire region.” He argued that this had led to a “serious limitation of fundamental freedoms,” such as religious freedom, opinion, and expression, among others. PLA is closely aligned with the National Front for the Family, and holds or participates in anti-abortion protests around the country. In an interview in March 2021, Ramírez said that the group was inspired by events in Argentina when the country liberalized its abortion law in 2020 and is composed of young people, most between the ages of 14 and 25, including rappers and influencers. They have their own anthem.  

Although the anti-abortion movement is what these young people sign up for, ProLife Army also is also against same-sex marriage and gender ideology, which is a euphemism for dehumanizing LGBTQ+ people and reducing their rights. On Facebook, PLA rejects the notion that anyone needs gender affirming health care, claiming this is just a cover for “adults intent on perverting children.” They post memes to social media proclaiming that “Nobody is more homophobic than the person who looks in the mirror and hates the sex they were born with.” And regarding trans children, ProLife Army states “TRANS CHILDHOODS DO NOT EXIST; There are ideologized adults who try to pervert children. Even if the Court says otherwise.”

The group advocates for reducing penalties for those who promote conversion therapy, the thoroughly discredited and dangerous practice of trying to change the orientation or identity of LGBTQ+ people. In one article from 2022, the group was compared to a Trojan horse that quietly and covertly indoctrinates its members to more extreme conservative values than just being against abortion. As El Pais reported on March 18, 2024, PLA is “Catholic, anti-feminist and anti-choice” and according to Jorge Luis Pimentel, a student of Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and director of ProLife Army in Mexico City, aimed at “occupying” political spaces that pro-life organizations have not targeted in the past. Much of ProLife Army’s work has been to approach local and federal legislators, to lobby to prevent the advancement of progressive policies in Mexico. “The approach is focused on trying to collaborate with [policymakers], to try to stop these initiatives or seek to repeal them,” Pimentel noted. The group was unsurprisingly apoplectic with the 2024 election outcome, where López Obrador’s hand-picked successor won overwhelmingly, complaining on Facebook, “the worst awaits us.”

Raices Radicales (Radical Roots, RR)

Location: Toluca

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender

Raices Radicales (Radical Roots, RR) is a vehemently anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-gender diversity group of anarcho-feminists defending the rights of “natural-born women.” They changed their name from Indómitas Feministas Radicales in June 2021, after burning the doors of the Mexican State Congress in protest of a proposed gender identity law that would have allowed transgender individuals to change their gender identity on official documents. They are very active on International Women’s Day, March 8, and openly quarrel with LGBTQ+ women’s groups. In Toluca, where RR is located, battles between trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) like RR, and the trans community have been fierce. On International Women’s Day in 2020, TERFs marched in Toluca, one of whom assaulted a transgender woman. In 2021, TERF groups set up a camp advocating for the legalization of abortion, in direct opposition to an encampment of trans people advocating for a law to allow them to change their gender on legal documents. The TERFs singled out trans women in the encampment, blocking the restrooms and threatening them with barbed wire-wrapped baseball bats. RR prohibits men from marching with them. A recent social media post by the group read, “The 8th of March commemorates the International Day of Women Workers, not gender diversity or queer.” They reject feminists who are pro-LGBTQ+.

They offer tips on how to prepare for a demonstration, including wearing boots and face coverings, making sure cell phones are charged, bringing pepper spray, and wearing gloves. They reject the label TERF as a misogynist term used to attack feminists, and consider that masculinity and femininity are social constructs designed to oppress women. The latter distinguishes them from better known TERF groups, such as the LGB Alliance, which has chapters in several countries and is a women’s movement adamantly opposed to trans rights. However, RR’s beliefs do fall under the descriptor trans-exclusionary, meaning that trans women are not considered women by the group. 

Red Familia (Family Network, RF)

Location: Mexico City,* Chihuahua

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender

For 23 years Red Familia (Family Network, RF) has been working “to strengthen the well-being of Mexican families.” Led by Mario Alberto Romo, the non-profit organization claims 1,120 member institutions throughout Mexico and involvement with more than one million people annually to help them “solve different problems and realities that impact their family nucleus.” Closely allied with far-right politician Eduardo Verástegui, who hosted CPAC Mexico in 2022, and other conservative “parents’ rights” groups, RF is anti-abortion (which it calls “prenatal homicide”), anti-gender ideology, and pro-conversion therapy, the discredited and dangerous practice of trying to change the orientation or identity of LGBTQ+ people that is banned in Mexico and dozens of other countries. Documents released by Wikileaks placed RF in the same network as El Yunque. In 2023, RF joined other similar groups in complaining about school textbooks which they claimed encourage “sexual confusion, “impose gender ideology,” have “content that encourages sexual confusion,” and activities “that promote the hypersexualization of children and the promotion of sexual relations at an early age.” Their basic complaint was about sex education.

Red Familia supported and promoted an online petition in 2022, alongside partner organization Frente Nacional por la Familia (National Front for the Family), warning that banning conversion therapy “affects doctors, psychologists, ministers of worship, parents and any citizen since the freedom of religious expression and education of parents towards their children is being restricted.” They added, “This is extremely urgent since if any type of treatment, therapy, service or practice is carried out, taught, applied, required or financed that hinders, restricts, prevents, undermines, nullifies or suppresses sexual orientation, gender identity or expression of a person, they can impose jail and a fine.” RF has partnered with and helped organize the anti-LGBTQ+ meeting of the World Congress of Families (WCF), an American group that holds annual conferences around the world that bring together major anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-women’s rights groups to strategize, when it was held in Mexico City in 2022. The other organizers were similarly anti-LGBTQ+, including Spain’s CitizenGo and the Global Center for Human Rights, led by a former staffer of the American anti-LGBTQ+ legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom, which also participates in WCF events and is a key supporter of the American authoritarian Project 2025.

Unión Nacional de Padres de Familia (National Parents Unión, UNPF)

Location: Mexico City* (the group claims chapters in every Mexican state except Baja California Sur)

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Transgender, Religious Nationalist

The Union Nacional de Padres de Familia (National Parents Union, UNPF) was founded by engineer Manuel de la Peza and a group of parents on April 27, 1917, shortly after the Mexican Constitution was signed, which mandated that education must be secular. The removal of the Catholic Church from education was perhaps the most upsetting of all of the anti-clerical measures in the new constitution. The group’s history includes fighting the very concept of sex education in 1933 to the establishment of sex education in free textbooks in the 1970s. UNPF also has a long history of mounting campaigns against contraception, abortion, eroticism, LGBTQ+ rights, divorce, the banning of conversion therapy, and anything going against Catholic doctrine in its strictest interpretation. Its current leader is Israel Sanchez.

Today the UNPF claims more than 2,500 affiliated organizations, more than two million members across Mexico, and holds yearly national conferences. UNPF has been vocal about its support of conversion therapy as a cure for “gender dysphoria,” as expressed in a 2020 newspaper interview with the Sol de Toluca, in which José Luis Romero of the UNPF Toluca chapter said, “There are cases that once declared themselves to be of a sex different from the biological one or of a different gender, later they wish to resume their natural or original sexuality (just as they decided at the time to take on another gender) and that is when they seek or require professional support.”

The group’s objectives include promoting the involvement of parents in their children’s education and defending the rights of parents to instill their values and beliefs in their children. However, the group takes very conservative stances, opposing comprehensive sex education, LGBTQ+ rights, feminism, and any policies or curricula it sees as undermining traditional gender roles and family structures. It has campaigned against same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, abortion rights, and the inclusion of materials addressing gender identity or sexual orientation in schools. The UNPF lobbies education authorities at federal and state levels to influence curricula and textbooks in line with its socially conservative worldview. The organization is one of the leading far-right voices in Mexico and has considerable political influence.

Union, Nacion, Revolucion (Union, Nation, Revolution, UNR)

Location: Apodaca, Nuevo Leon; Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Saltillo, Coahuila

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Antisemitic

Largely viewed as the new face of neo-Nazism and fascism in Mexico, Union, Nacion, Revolucion (Union, Nation, Revolution, UNR) is active both on social media and on the streets of at least five towns in Mexico and has been around since at least 2021. UNR has said its ideology draws inspiration from ​​Mexican fascist writer José Luis Ontiveros, Peronism, and Spanish fascist José Antonio Primo de Rivera. Recruiting is a big part of their mission. On Twitter, UNR wrote, “Together we will build a political, social and cultural alternative of national revolutionary militants.” 

UNR hosted their third annual Training and Militancy seminar on May 25 and 26, 2024, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in association with Editorial Heidelberg, a publisher and online book distributor specializing in far-right and neo-Nazi literature, which also acts as a concert promoter and frequently collaborates with UNR. Heidelberg’s owner is José Manuel Oyervides and his bookstore based in Monterrey says that it publishes and distributes “hard to come by” books that are penned by “persecuted, shunned or banned authors.” According to El País, its catalog includes works such as Manifesto for a European Renaissance, by the French Nouvelle Droite founder, Alain de Benoist, the diaries of Hideki Tōjō, who was the Japanese prime minister during WWII, and a compilation of speeches by Hitler. 

Previous iterations of the seminar featured fascist speakers Juan Antonio Llopart and Jordí Garriaga Clavé of Spain, whose books are distributed by Libereria Heidelberg. UNR also boasts online of its affiliation with Blocco Studentesco, an Italian neo-fascist group, as representative of their foreign alliances. UNR often distributes literature, publishes their own literature (such as a collection of pamphlets called “Women in Action” celebrating fascist women), covers towns in fascist stickers, counterprotests holidays such as International Workers Day in places like Nuevo Leon, and hosts and sponsors hate music concerts. UNR gained attention from various media outlets in the aftermath of a January 14, 2023, concert in Mexico City that was infiltrated by journalists and widely reported on as representative of a rising tide of neo-Nazis in Mexico. Some 300 people were in attendance and video excerpts from the concert shot by undercover journalists were uploaded to YouTube. 

One of the bands performing was Der Stürmer from Greece. They also played in Ciudad Juarez during their Mexico tour. A third concert in Guadalajara, scheduled for the day before their Mexico City show, was canceled due to public outrage. Two Mexican bands gracing the stage were Tlateotocani from Zacatecas, and Wolves Of AhPuch from Chiapas. This concert came just months after a concert called “The Empire Strikes Back” or “El Imperio Contraataca” took place on October 29, 2022, in Mexico City, also causing great public outcry and leading to a stiffening of hate crime penalties in Mexico. That show featured five bands, two from Spain, Irreductibles and Batallon de Castigo, formed by imprisoned fascists in Madrid 1991, and three from Mexico (SunCity Skins, Last Chance and Royal Aces Convicted). UNR has close ties to hate concert organizers such as Desperados División and has appeared in media reports surrounding all of these concerts as representative of a rising, more organized Mexican neo-Nazi presence. Days after the Empire Strikes Back concert, on November 3, 2022, Mexico’s Senate passed a bill making the dissemination of hateful, racist, violent or supremacist ideology, already a criminal act, punishable by up to three years in prison. The group was banned from WhatsApp in February 2024, and two months later from Instagram.

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