Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Americans Killed in Juárez

Here's a sign that the story about Americans in danger in Juárez has boiled over: John Ackerman has an op-ed about it in the LA Times. It is predictably a bit hard on Calderón for my taste, but the piece's basic argument, that Mexico should focus much more on improving the rule of law and transparency, is hard to dispute.

He frames Mexico's security dilemma as a question of "strongman tactics" (which we can just take to mean more direct confrontation of organized crime) versus rule of law, which is not uncommon but I think an unnecessarily polarizing way of looking at the issue. If we replace the loaded term quoted above, it's not an either-or proposition; whether or not you favor direct confrontation or coexistence with organized crime, everyone can agree that Calderón's government should do more to advance transparency. The reason this doesn't happen seems partly due to the fact that the dilemma is turned into a proxy for your opinion on the president, which is to say that it feels like a betrayal for Calderón supporters to call for more transparency and strengthen the rule of law. This is unfortunate.

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