Friday, August 13, 2010

Felipe Calderon and the National Security Dialog













As Felipe Calderon enters the last two years of his presidency, his unwavering commitment to the war against the drug cartels and organized crime and his mission to impose the rule of law to every square meter of Mexico’s territory has begun to face eroding support among the population and the political spectrum, including his own party, the PAN.

The sacrifice has been enormous in terms of eroded state institutions, increasing insecurity and crime, and the unquenchable thirst for violence by organized criminal gangs.

And there is no end in sight to this tragedy, at least for this generation of Mexicans.

The achievable goal at this point is only to close the door on the near absolute impunity enjoyed by organized criminal gangs as they rob, extort, kidnap and traffic in drugs.

This view comes from President Calderon himself and this accomplishment would be a huge first step on the road to a better nation for the next generations. But the key phrase here is next generations

Even if one accepts the fact that the vast majority of the deaths occurring during the last four years have been borne by rival criminal gangs as a result of the conflicts over drug trafficking markets and profits, it cannot be denied that the social costs to the Mexican people have been enormous.

It is within this path for a better future that President Calderon has held a National Security Dialog (Dialogo por la Seguridad) this past week with representatives from all sectors of the nation an effort to reach a consensus on the way forward for Mexico.

Calderon has met with business leaders, NGO’s, the clergy, leaders of the political parties, the judicial branch and the governors and has offered to incorporate valid ideas and modifications into his security strategy in the fight against lawlessness.

Although there has been support for his policies, there have also been criticisms. Even the President has admitted to some failures in his policies.

One of the main criticisms has been that this Dialog is the first step in Calderon institutionalizing his security strategy as a matter of state policy that will limit the freedom of action of future political actors.

Even though all the talk is of defending democracy, some critics see an authoritarian shadow being cast.

Whatever the reality of Calderon’s intentions, the truth is that something must be done to impose the rule of law and diminish the power and impunity of the drug cartels. This is the only way forward to reach the level of security required for a healthy society.

It is above all an absolute truth that the other necessary road forward towards the rule of law and security is for Mexico to transform itself into a more economically just society.

Among the most important fundamental components of Calderon’s security strategy are the judicial reforms that are being implemented to modernize Mexico’s justice system into an efficient institution free from the influence of organized that can safeguard the security of the population, and administer justice and punishment to criminals.

Where implemented, these judicial reforms have largely failed.

Although these reforms are sound and necessary, their implementation has been impeded by inertia, corruption and improper funding. The planning has not gone well.

Among these reforms are the presentation of cases before the courts by oral arguments in a public setting with set rules of evidence and the right of cross-examination. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the prohibition against indefinite detention of suspects are also addressed in these reforms.

Traditionally, judicial cases are handled behind closed doors through the process of written legal briefs being reviewed by a judge and a verdict rendered thereafter. In many cases, years thereafter.

This closed setting has been an arena extremely fertile to corrupt influences and is the reason that the judiciary is held in contempt by so many Mexicans and one of several factors that permits organized crime to operate unimpeded.

On Thursday, President Calderon, Attorney General Arturo Chavez and the President of the Supreme Court body, held a conference to address the failures of the judicial reforms in the states where they have been implemented.

From the podium President Calderon asked why the state of Chihuahua suffers from the highest levels of violence when it is the entity that to date has implemented the judicial reforms most completely.

The president also asked why there are so few criminals sentenced in comparison to the great number of those detained.

In response, Supreme Court Chief Ortiz stated the reforms must be coordinated among all the different levels within the judicial system. He answered, in effect, that the police have still not been fully trained in the procedures necessary for real investigative police work in legal proceedings where proper rules of evidence apply.

He also added that prosecutors still have very little experience in the new justice system.

In other words, the reason that criminals have gone unpunished is that the reforms have not been implemented in a well planned, comprehensive manner.

The Attorney General of the Republic, Arturo Chavez, said the new criminal justice system is flawed in states where implementation has begun and that public support has turned against the reforms that they see as a failure to stem the growing violence and lawlessness.

The Attorney General also acknowledged that the Forfeiture Act, a cornerstone of the criminal law reform designed to seize the assets of convicted drug traffickers, has run into problems and will need to be re-drafted. The Supreme Court President also conceded that the Forfeiture Act is very rarely used.

The frank answers given in the conference are a stark reminder that the battle for the rule of law in Mexico is not in the hands of the President but is at the mercy of the men and women he appoints to carry out his policies.

If he does not find the people fit for the endeavor, the fight may be doomed to fail.

13 comments:

  1. Yes, the biggest problem that Mexico has is corruption at every single level, citizens included.
    Citizens need to STOP feeding the corruption, and demand their rulers to do the same. At the same time, there needs to be a MAJOR clean up in the Judicial system, get better people, train them and give them a better salary, so they do not have to resort to bribery just to make ends meet.
    My biggest concern is that people just seem to not care, they have learned to suck it up and go with the flow, so no one has the motivation to change things.... a BIG change in mentality is needed in all Mexicans if they want to make this beautiful country better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please do not nit pick Calderon, he is the only major political figure of Mexico that has attempted to raise Mexico to the level of at least some credability in the world. 6:19am is correct there seems to be a lack of willingness on the part of the Mexican public to support cooperate and commit to changing the culture of passive indifference. Without public support Mexico will continue to decline the standard of living will get worse as the economy crumbles. Maby if it gets bad enough the citizens of Mexico will be forced to accept responsability,the govt can not do it alone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is not a war on drugs it is simply tring to establish some order in Mexico PERIOD.

    ReplyDelete
  4. People get the Government they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Anonymous 4:20 pm

    Maybe that's why people on both sides of the border are so pissed off.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ...to the one-trick-pony above...

    Being born in the United States required no amount of skill or blood letting on the part of the overwhelming majority of us. What did you do to "deserve" your result of the mystical birth roulette?

    So...why so smug? To motivate?

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @ 8:37

    Uh...excuse me sir...why are you getting in front of my water-pistol when i'm trying to hit the other guy @4:20? Shoo...

    ReplyDelete
  9. lol!9:22 That retort to the retarded reader made my evening!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. mijo...I have to disagree w/y on this one. The majority of Mx are not pissed yet.. because they are so ill informed. Not pissed, just fearful.

    & to anon calling the blogger retarded, pls refrain, he is stupid not retarded. Retarded should not be used as an insult it is a genuine disabilty

    ReplyDelete
  11. @ 10:00:

    Yes madam; very good point on anon @ 4:20.

    About the poster @ 11:08...well...maybe they have just not developed that particular sensitivity. Who knows...? ...I think they were just being "plain-spoken" without malice, though.

    BTW...don't some right thinkers and herbal drinkers consider that a desirable attribute? One could go either way depending on who's ox is getting gored, huh?

    To think...minding one's manners was considered desirable from a traditional point of view. That practice, in political conversation, is now spoken of (by some traditionalists) as if it is capitulating to an argument.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am certain that no malice was intended. However, MR kids, children w/autism and other disabilties are my work base in Mexico & US, and I would be remiss if when I see an offensive or misuse of the terms retarded or crippled etc then I lose an oportunity to teach sensitivity. The challenges are great for these kids and those who love them in a world that can be unbelievably cruel. That's all

    ReplyDelete
  13. @ Chivis:

    I accept the fact you disagree with me and I see now the term ''pissed off' is probably incorrect, but people ARE angry.

    On the contrary, they are angry because they ARE becoming informed. More so everyday.

    Imagine how you would feel if you found out your neighbor's son, a child you watched grow up, was one of the people involved in the kidnapping and extortion of many innocent people where you live.

    Imagine finding out the town cop who always greets you with a warm smile was the one securing the victims.

    And that the mayor that promised better education, new jobs, etc, the one you voted for after carefully weighing options, has given these people the green light to terrorize your city/town/ etc in exchange for a cut of the profits.

    People are angry: at the narcos, the government, and also at themselves..for knowing it was happening (seeing signs long before), but never acting..

    I believe a revolution IS stirring in Mexico; perhaps not by way of weapons, but at least a common, collective awakening.
    The people are

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;

borderlandbeat@gmail.com