federal police make their umpteenth presentation of weapons,
captured cartel members: is the drug war working - or is it
administration of the country?
Is Mexico a Failed State? … Not Yet
criminals taking over the functions of government by extorting shopkeepers
and entrepreneurs, it is as if they are collecting taxes to ensure security for
their victims. Yes, reader, we refer to security that is not being provided by
the three levels of government [federal, state, and local] and President
Calderon, who believes that he's doing things right."
Mexican federal police escort suspected members of the Zeta drug cartel, thought to be responsible for murdering 44 members of the rival Golgol cartel at the Apodaca prison, to a press presentation, Feb 14.
There has been much debate
over whether our nation has reached the deplorable condition of being a “failed
state.” Certainly it has not, but the government is in crisis. The U.S.
recently warned its citizens not to visit 14 states of the Mexican Republic and
due to crime and violence, to take precautions in four others.
[Editor's note: Mexico
consists of 31 states and a specially designated "Federal District."]
With criminals taking over
the functions of government by extorting shopkeepers and entrepreneurs, it is
as if they are collecting taxes to ensure security for their victims. Yes,
reader, we refer to security that is not being provided by the three levels of
government [federal, state, and local] and President Calderon, who believes
that he's doing things right. Let's just think about the crisis in the Mexico
Of the over 400 prisons in
Mexico, more than half have severe problems with governance, overpopulation,
corruption, overcrowding and a struggle among gangs for internal control, infrastructure
and even their geographical location, since most are based in urban areas and expose
nearby families to peril.
The prison in Apodaca, Nuevo
León, confirms this: forty-four inmates from the Golfo cartel were recently murdered
by 30 Zetas cartel inmates - who escaped. There is no better example of
impunity, corruption and the lack of transparency. [See photo box, upper left]
The closest precedent to this
was a brawl at the prison in Altamira, Tamaulipas, in which 31 inmates were
killed. Raúl Plasencia, head of the National Commission for Human Rights [NHRC], has reported over 11,000 such
incidents at detention centers. Guillermo Aguirre Aguilar, designated visitor
for the NRHC, has reported that in 2011, there were 49 incidents - fights,
murders, escapes, suicides and fires - in the nation's prisons, resulting in 171
deaths. How long will it take the federal government to implement a national
program for rehabilitating the 230,000-252,000 inmates in the country? When
will they be reintegrated into society through training, education, health and
sports? When will the Justice Ministry effectively and promptly resolve the
existing judicial backlog that effect over 40 percent of the prison population?
When will Congress reform the current prison system, since the existing one has
A middle-level bureaucrat from
of Public Security has said there is corruption at the Apodaca prison, and
he asked: “Who opened the door? We should ask him: “Who opened the door for "El Chapo" Guzmán, who
escaped from prison via the front door 11 years and 34 days ago? During his
administration, Felipe Calderón triumphantly announced the arrest of 22 out of 57
cartel leaders, and Interior Secretary Alejandro Poiré has
said: “If only we had attacked the problem before.” Does the young secretary
know that in politics, there is no “if”? And to top that, Defense Secretary General
Galván has asserted that the Army “will go as far and be as strong” as the
supreme command and society demand.
Doesn't he know that all
society wants is peace, not running battles with drug traffickers? What about
the corruption of some generals, middle commanders and their subordinates throughout
our nation's territory? Or the erosion of the civilian authorities after the
Army took over the performance of their functions, which has allowed the
gradual disintegration and consequent desertion of their subordinates, increasing
the ranks of organized crime?
Of the presidential
candidates, only Peña
Nieto and López
Obrador have spoken of the gradual return of the Army to its barracks. Vázquez Mota
asserted she would continue Calderon’s strategy of pretending to be commander-in-chief
of the Mexican Army.
What do you think, dear
*Juan Carlos Sánchez
Magallán is a lawyer and
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