Monday, March 26, 2012

Sicilia, A Year Later

Taking stock of the Movement for Peace and Justice, here. Highlights:
While the government still focuses on taking down capos, it has largely ceased to justify increased violence as a necessary phase in the assault on crime. Most of its recent policy proposals focus on lowering the number of murders. Sicilia, who has enormous credibility as a man who lost his son to criminal violence, has been instrumental in bringing about this shift.


Sicilia dismissed Mexico’s upcoming presidential elections, calling them a “disgrace” and essentially saying that his movement would not participate. While this attitude speaks to understandable frustration with the inefficacy of government policy, any solution to Mexico’s problems with organized crime will require a robust role for the government. NGOs and popular movements can provide a vital service by criticizing official policy and forcing policy makers to seek constant improvements in their strategies, but any group that shows its frustration with the government by ignoring it is going to have a severely limited impact.

Sicilia at one point said that his group sought "arms with which to pressure the politicians." This makes sense, insofar as it refers to making politicians more responsive to the nation’s demands, yet the most obvious weapon in a democratic society is the vote. By abandoning greater participation in electoral campaigns, and refusing to get involved in the political fray, Sicilia reduces his impact substantially and unnecessarily.

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