Thursday, August 12, 2010

Odd Suggestion

Carlos Pascual suggested in a recent speech that the Mexican army set up road blocks every five blocks in violent areas near the US border. This is an odd comment for a number of reasons: first, it's a bit more forward in assessing Mexico's needs than you expect from an American ambassador. Second, it's oddly specific for someone who's not a public security professional; this appears to be something he's thought about, rather than just something that occurred to him in the moment that he was loosely sketching out (although it occurs to me that maybe this is something that has been put into place in parts of Tijuana, which he hailed as a model for other border towns). Lastly, it doesn't seem like particularly good advice. It will necessarily impose a not-insignificant cost on law-abiding citizens (Mexican soldiers have always treated me quite well at roadblocks, but I wouldn't much relish having a rifle-toting 18-year-old check me out every five blocks as I drove home), and there's no reason to think that this is the missing link to significantly safer communities.

According to the link above, Pascual also said that USAID has contributed $250 million to the program Todos Somos Juárez. This is also a noteworthy claim, since that would be a tremendous chunk of the program's budget, and I don't remember ever hearing it before.

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