Regardless of its reasons, the Calderon administration’s decision to block the information represents an unfortunate prioritization of short-term priorities over the long-term interests of the nation. While Calderon’s government has been rightly criticized various elements of its security policy, his team has been admirably open about the number of killings.
Indeed, when Guillermo Valdes, the director of Mexico’s intelligence agency (CISEN), announced in 2010 that some 28,000 murders linked to organized crime had taken place under the Calderon administration, this was significantly higher than most media organizations had counted. Similarly, despite the temptation to take advantage of the semantic murkiness and re-interpret the meaning of “linked to organized crime” in order to arrive at a lower number, Calderon’s team remained open about the data through most of last year.
In 2011, Alejandro Poire, currently the secretary of the interior and previously Valdes’ successor as the director of CISEN, continued the policy with the forthright admission that more than 15,000 of the prior year's murders could be connected to organized crime, a sharp increase from 2009. In short, even as the numbers indicated a worsening climate, the government helped provide a fuller sense of the circumstances around Mexico.
Instead of hiding the stats, Poire’s approach was to dispute their significance. He argued, for instance, that the government’s targeting of capos did not cause the murder rate to spike, and repeatedly emphasized that the violence was concentrated in a relatively limited number of municipalities.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
No More Data
Here's a piece about the Calderón administration's decision not to publish the data related to murders linked to organized crime. Highlights: