By Chris Covert
Unreported until last Saturday is the unwritten agreement between the newly elected Mexican federal government and the states that part of President Enrique Pena Nieto's new security strategy will be to reduce the number of reports on violent incidents, according to Mexican press accounts.
According to a news account posted Saturday on the website of Diario de Colima news daily, agreements have been made between the federal government and some state attorneys general that violent incidents will only be reported when "necessary".
Colima governor Mario Anguiano Moreno
Colima governor Mario Anguiano Moreno told the press that studies conducted by the federal government showed that reporting on violence in Mexico's drug war had a "prejudicial effect" on the impact of such events.
According to the translation, Governor Anguiano Moreno said: "I was shown studies showing that at the federal level, to the extent that we as a government are putting the issue of security, we report every time you stop a criminal, rather than contributing to the achievement tranquility, were on the contrary encouraging unrest."
Governor Anguiano Moreno goes on: "There was an agreement (between the Federation and the states) which will only be reporting of detainees when strictly necessary," he added.
It is unclear how the agreements are affected by federal transparency laws.
To abide by the new federal guidelines Colima Governor Anguiano Moreno will suspend weekly meetings of the Gabinete de Seguridad del Estado, and will report on detentions "only when necessary".
The governor added that while security is important and reports of detentions and deaths will still will be reported, the information may not be as readily available.
Five days ago in a Washington Post opinion piece, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, José Miguel Vivanco, amidst the hysterical language of the human right industry revealed that part of President Pena's security strategy included changing the subject to the economy and away from security matters.
President Pena's government functions under transparency rules passed in the previous 12 years under Partido Accion National (PAN) government, and new rules imposed since the start of his administration.
When the proposed reorganization of the cabinet level Secretaria de Seguridad Publica, moving the agency to under the Secretaria de Gobierno (SEGOB), or interior ministry as a sub agency was put into effect, national legislators put SEGOB on a short leash requiring monthly reports on its activities.
Its first report, however, was a summary detailing detentions and drugs and contraband seized during the previous month,including summaries by the Mexican Army and Navy. Its second report is likely to like the first and so on.
And while the federal government is under those transparency rules, it does rely on states for its data, and so President Pena's security strategy may be aiming at getting around those rules by ordering state attorneys general to slow walk or obscure information on crimes, or in the case of states which do not have as constrictive transparency laws, not releasing any information at all.
What the new focus on information could do is to create a situation where states that do have transparency laws will be reporting crime and appear to have a crime problem, while those that do not will appear to have less crime.
It is worth noting that this writer has noticed that reported detentions and shootings have declined since the start of President Pena's administration.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com