Federal Police rescued 51 kidnapped migrants in Tamaulipas today, days after they saved another 68 in the same state. Such rescues were not common before the discovery of scores and scores of dead bodies last week in San Fernando, and now we've had two in a week.
You see this pattern a lot in Mexico: a public security issue reaches critical mass, and all of a sudden, the not entirely competent institutions snap into action and seem much more competent, for a little while. (Here's Jorge Chabat making a similar point in 2008.) That leads to a couple of questions, all of them related to the most obvious: Why can't they always operate like that? What can Mexico and Mexicans do to lower that threshold for when institutions start taking a given issue seriously? Another way of looking at it: why was it this latest incident in San Fernando, and not the massacre of 72 migrants last summer, that triggered the intensified response? What changes about the incentives up and down the chain of command when there is a sudden rush of attention on a given topic? What can be done to lengthen or institutionalize the "This is serious" mindset? Are all of these really legitimate operations, or are they just some species of montaje?