How the war on drugs perpetuates violence in Latin America

The latest news out of Mexico is horrifying. Forty-three college students are likely dead after they were allegedly handed over to drug gangs by a mayor who feared the students would protest during a speech by his politically ambitious wife. Before the students' suspected remains were found, officials exhumed multiple mass graves and concluded they were actually looking at the wrong pits of bodies — a sign of just how out of control violence has gotten in Mexico.

This type of news, unfortunately, has become all too common in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. And in many cases, the problems can be linked back to the war on drugs. Here's a primer on the issue.