Thursday, May 20, 2010

Protecting the Politicians

Leo Zuckermann thinks more Mexican politicians should have bodyguards, whether they like it or not:
I know some figures in public life that don't have bodyguards. I understand them perfectly. It must be a real hassle to have security agents watching your back. I would feel as though my private life was invaded.

Nonetheless, I also believe that many of these figures should indeed have bodyguards, even paid by the state. For one reason: should someone to make an attempt on their lives, the negative consequences wouldn't be just for themselves and their families, but rather the entire country.

Take the case of the disappearance of Diego Fernández de Cevallos. Today we know that the Boss, despite being a high-profile politician and a wealthy lawyer, was not accompanied by bodyguards when he disappeared last Friday. That was of course his right. Nevertheless, in the present context, when the state is unleashing an intense fight against organized crime, a man of Fernández de Cevallos' profile needed to have been accompanied by security personnel.


Upon discussing this topic with a pair of friends, who didn't agree with my argument, they asked me where the list of public figures who should have bodyguards begins and ends. Who must and who musn't? The truth is that I don't have a definitive answer, but I do think that there are some who should have security personnel at their disposal because any attack against them has ominous consequences for the Mexican government. And I think that one of those figures Diego Fernández de Cevallos. The same goes for Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas or Andrés Manuel López Obrador, both of whom I have seen without bodyguards. I repeat: if anything happens to these people, it ends up having negative consequences for the country.
Though he kind of contradicts himself (it's a right to deny bodyguards but it should be a requirement to have them?), I think Zuckermann makes a pretty good case that high-profile pols need to have some personal security detail. (However, I always agree with Gregg Easterbrook's mocking of self-important politicians being trailed by a huge security detail in the US. Of course, the two nations are very different in this regard.) I'm not sure that requiring them is necessary; offering bodyguards for free and shaming those who turn them down is probably just as effective and less unseemly in terms of the invasion of privacy.

No comments: