Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Calderón Talks to Mexico

Here's Felipe Calderón's speech to the nation last night, echoing an editorial published around the nation earlier this week:

Sorry, no translation. In short, he describes the reasons for his policies, and then outlines the five major planks of his strategy: joint operations with local authorities and citizens, improving operational and technological capacity for government agencies, reforming the legal and institutional framework, and a police that actively prevents crime, and strengthening international cooperation.

I think the strategy as he describes it is not deep enough (more later), and his chronology about extortion seems backwards (he implies that extortion was a major reason why he adopted the more aggressive policies than previous executives). Offering an exact cause and effect is a bit tricky in such a scattered and hidden industry, but by the government's own calculations, extortion became a huge problem after Calderón started chasing organized crime, though it was already on an upward swing. It also makes sense that as moving drugs northward became more fraught as a result of Calderón's more aggressive stance, existing criminal groups were to seek to replace lost smuggling income with other activities, such as extortion.

Nonetheless, Calderón's smart to be doing this. The PR aspect of his security policies has been deficient, and the logic of his decisions is not as widely understood as it should be. Also, given the ever-increasing levels of violence, any indication that the federal government hasn't entirely forgotten about the average citizen is welcome.

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