By Francesca Trianni
October 28, 2014

Mexico recently seemed to be on the fast track to becoming a safer country under the guidance of newly elected President Enrique Peña Nieto.

But the recent disappearance of 43 students in the southwestern city of Iguala – and the apparent involvement of the local mayor in their vanishing – has overshadowed Peña Nieto’s attempt to crack down on pervasive gang violence and restore order in Mexico.

“This event gave Peña Nieto a bloody nose,” said George W. Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary who studies drug trafficking groups. “It has demonstrated that his attempted security policy simply hasn’t functioned adequately and there are two Mexicos: the modern Mexico that the President embraces, but also the Mexico Bronco – a wild, savage Mexico.”

Mexicans are now wondering if their government is withholding information on the missing students for political reasons — and whether any politician can hope to control the “Mexico Bronco.”

Write to Francesca Trianni at francesca.trianni@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST