Monday, June 21, 2010

Explaining the Rehab-Center Killings

Here's Jorge Fernández Menéndez:
The attack again puts on the table two points that have been time and again underestimated: there's neither control nor regulation of the operation of addiction treatment centers in the country and, as such, they are increasingly being used as genuine centers of operation by various criminal groups, above all the street gangs. This is what happened in the three previous attacks in the state of Chihuahua, we don't know what characteristics Fe y Vida had, but everything seems to indicate that it was part of this trend. According to reports, the executors were part of the group La Línea, which is part of the Juárez Cartel, and the victims were from Gente Nueva, which is part of the Pacific Cartel. And these groups are in turn composed of gang-members, the former, of the Mexicas, the latter, the Artistas Asesinos.

We shouldn't be surprised that this happened in Chihuahua, but rather that it's not happening elsewhere in the country. In Michoacán, it was public knowledge that the Gratitud hostels, which were also presented with a religious varnish, were centers of recruitment, indoctrination, and operation of la Familia Michoacana. Thousands of young people passed through to be tapped, by persuasion of coercion, by that criminal group. And the same thing is repeated all over the country, above all in the most marginalized areas.

But there exists no control over these centers: we are scandalized by what happened in the ABC day care center and, correctly, justice for those responsible is demanded. But we forget the enormous quantity of victims that are interned in many of these centers that have turned into exactly the opposite of what they proclaim. There are, of course, institutions whose work is notable, in the public sector as well as the primate, particularly, given the massive impact of its work, the Juvenile Integration Centers. But who controls those who operate the institutions claiming to be religious that have antiquated methods to supposedly "cure" addicts? Who controls those that are run by criminal groups to occasionally stow certain members that need protection, to indoctrinate youths, to train them, use them, what a paradox, as centers of distribution of drugs? Who controls the addiction treatment centers that have been discovered to be keeping people kidnapped, whether to seek a ransom or as a hiding place in the long network of human trafficking? And there's no control because no one wants to be responsible for it. The federal Secretariat of Health has regulatory norms that aren't applied in the states, and the states and the municipalities simply don't even visit these centers. Anyone can install them and begin to give "attention" whether it's free or not, nothing happens.
Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine regulating the nation's addiction centers becoming one of the government's priorities in the near future.

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