Calderón issues statement on public security

The government published in the Sunday papers a two-page statement by President Calderón titled “The Fight for Public Security” that lays out the government’s domestic security rationale and strategy. It includes this statement of the objective:

The [government’s] objective has been to restore the security of Mexican families, to distinguish Mexico as a country of laws and institutions, and to guarantee that we can live together in an ordered and tranquil manner throughout the country.  The fight is, indeed, for public security. I emphasize this because there exists a general perception that the objective of the government is ‘to fight drug trafficking.’  … Our core objective is to achieve public safety for the citizens, and not only or even principally to fight narcotrafficking. We are fighting organized crime with determination because it is our constitutional and ethical obligation to do so, because organized crime has altered, in a significant manner, the peace of the citizens.

And this rejection of the argument for cutting a deal with the traffickers:

This new activity of the criminals [seeking to control both illicit and licit activities in their territories] surprised some of the weakened institutional structures of the State that are responsible for the safety and the administration and procurement of justice: police, public prosecutors, local, state, and federal governments, among others, that have never confronted anything similar.  Some of these reached an implicit or explicit understanding with the criminals, thinking that they could in this way ‘control’ the criminals. They thought that this scheme was ‘how it always worked.’  It is exactly the opposite; once the ‘understanding’ is made, the criminals control the authorities.  And once the latter have submitted, the [criminals] control the public space without any restriction and there exists no check on their abuses against the population.

While lamenting the loss of innocent life “whether from the cold-blooded homicides committed by the criminals, which are the majority of the cases, or in the crossfire between criminals and the authorities,” Calderón offered this arithmetic:

In general, the government can reasonably detect signs of the cause in about 70% of the homicides. In about 90% of these cases, there is some sign that the causal agents were persons very probably linked to criminal organizations, with the killings occurring during confrontations or gang executions between gangs. (N.B., the tortured grammar is in the original.)

The document also outlines the five areas of action:

  1. Use of the military and Federal Police to reinforce local police forces;
  2. Improving the operating and technological capacities of the security and justice agencies, including a) creating the Federal Police, b) upgrading and cleaning up the Justice Ministry and public prosecutors’ offices, c) creating the unified, nationwide criminal information system called “Platform Mexico”, and d) strengthening the armed forces both in terms of equipment and salaries and benefits for the troops;
  3. Reforming the legal and institutional framework, including the introduction of oral criminal proceedings;
  4. Crime prevention programs, including more schools, parks, and sports programs; and
  5. International cooperation, including the Mérida Initiative with the U.S.

PDF version (in Spanish): Presidential Statement on the Struggle for Public Safety, 06.13

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