Friday, January 7, 2011

Peña Nieto's Crime Plan

Via Boz, Enrique Peña Nieto has a piece in laying out his security proposal:
The biggest challenge that Mexico faces in 2011 and beyond, therefore, is to implement a National Strategy to Reduce Violence with one clear aim: to bring down the number of murders, kidnappings and extortions significantly in the next five years. The strategy should rest on four pillars.
This is notable in that he talks about reducing violence, instead of reducing the threat of the gangs, as paramount. Those two goals, of course, are not the same, and often work at cross-purposes. This may be just tailoring the message to the audience; potential investors read the Financial Times. While speaking to the Wilson Center in Washington in August, where his audience was presumably foreign policy gurus, he instead emphasized the need to continue the war on drugs. So which of these two contradictory goals will serve as the guiding objective of security in a Peña Nieto administration? I have my suspicions, but the fact that we are asking these questions despite Peña Nieto addressing the issue is a telling reminder of why he worries people.

He pledges to the build the strategy (sorry, the Strategy) on four pillars:
1) Prevention, a catch-all which means anything from tax reform to more education spending.

2) A better trained police force and a more efficient judiciary. He also mentions better investigative services, by which I imagine he is referring to the ministerios públicos, whose incompetence is often fingered as a barrier to a more effective criminal justice system. He also talks about the need to reduce the size informal economy.

3) Focus strategy on the most violent municipalities. That's his wording, and of course I know what he means, but that's kind of a tortured phrasing; focus "implementation" or "efforts" would be better.

4) Shared responsibility between the three levels of government.
Parts of this seem rather incoherent to me, in the way that it tosses rather specific goals (more efficient judicial branch) with broad objectives (such as, "prevention"). But although this is thrown together willy-nilly from an organizational standpoint, there is nonetheless a lot of completely sensible stuff in there.

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