Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Testifying on Mérida

Security officials from the Calderón administration appeared before congress last night to talk about the Mérida Initiative and underuse of security resources at the local level, among other topics. The officials revealed that 260 different municipalities around Mexico are not using all the security resources available to them. This goes along with the report last week that Mexico's city governments collectively ignored about $200 million in federal security subsidies. Some cities, including perennially endangered border towns like Piedras Negras and nearby Monclova (which was home to a major federal anti-drug operation last week), didn't spend a single cent of their federal subsidy. This follows similar reports of failing to take advantage of all available resources from last May.

I've not seen any response from local officials about this, but I wonder if part of the problem is capacity: lots of municipal governments, long deficient in autonomy and over-reliant on the federal government, don't have the know-how to make multi-million dollar security purchases, whether they are hardware or police certification programs (such as the Certipol program at the Instituto para la Democracia y la Seguridad) or whatever. In any event, the inability of municipal governments to police their jurisdictions remains a major handicap for Mexican public security.

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