Monday, February 15, 2010

Chabat on Juárez

In a column colorfully titled "Ciudad Juárez: aspirin for pneumonia", Jorge Chabat says that the social elements of the plan for Juárez are too late in coming:
In summary, a catalogue of measures that it would be hard to question. Nevertheless, everything indicates that the new strategy in Juárez responds more to the political pressure deriving from the killing of the young Juárez residents than to the magnitude of the problem.

The proposals announced by Calderón seek to satisfy those sectors that think that the development of organized crime is directly linked to social inequality. Nevertheless, such a position doesn't exactly define the problem. It's true that the growth of common crime is directly associated with social inequality. And organized crime also feeds off of common crime. Which is to say, a criminal career begins with small crimes until it climbs to organized crime. That's why it's important to have a preventative and social development approach, as is applying the law with minor crimes, with the goal of preventing young people from developing a criminal career. The problem is that once organized crime takes root, as has been the case in Ciudad Juárez and in a good part of the country, the preventative approach has little or no impact in reverting the phenomenon.


In Ciudad Juárez the crime-prevention measures without a doubt failed. The problem of the deterioration of the social fabric was not addressed and common crime grew. But the application of the law also failed.
In other Juárez news, 2,000 Federal Police troops are on their way to Juárez. A portion of this group will focus on protecting bars and nightclubs, while another will seek to prevent extortion by operating in commercial areas. Also, local businessmen are not satisfied with Calderón's plan for the city.


Paul Roberts said...

Also, as someone pointed out on Primer Plano tonight, these kind of measures bear fruit only in the long term, at least four years,(therefore into the next sexenio) and so will not appear to be making any difference for a while. This will not lead to the citizens of Ciudad Juarez feeling any more secure and confident about their future in the short term.

pc said...

There's no question that this is stuff that should have been done years if not decades ago. I think in there effort to highlight the social aspects of the policy, Calderón's team is probably forgetting to remind people of the law-and-order stuff a bit, which is ironic given their focus the past three years.

One thing that's a little scary that I think one thing people ignore is that the primary actors are the drug runners, not the government. Even if the strategy is perfect, there's no guarantee that it'll make the gangs put away their weapons.