Issue Brief: Mexico’s Fight Against Organized Crime

Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates on behalf of the Enrique Peña Nieto Transition, 11/21/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

On December 1, 2012 Enrique Peña Nieto will be sworn-in as Mexico’s next president. This is the third in a series of issue briefs covering some of his policy priorities. Each brief will outline the president-elect’s vision for Mexico and proposed policies.

MEXICO WILL CONTINUE ITS FIGHT AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME 

Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto supports the decision made by President Felipe Calderón to confront the threat of organized crime head-on. As Peña Nieto has stated “the law is not negotiable, it is to be applied.” The president-elect believes that enforcing the law is not an option, but rather an obligation of the Mexican State and its authorities.

A NEW SECURITY STRATEGY

In fact, whether or not to confront organized crime has never been a point of contention in Mexico. Rather, the debate has centered on the policies and measures that would best improve the effectiveness of the Mexican government’s fight against crime and violence. According to Peña Nieto, making crime-fighting efforts more effective does not require designing a new strategy from scratch. Rather, it means starting from the current platform, undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the successful and unsuccessful initiatives taken over the last few years, and changing strategy accordingly.

However, the president-elect does believe some fundamental changes to present tactics are needed. For one, the present strategy is insufficient because it relies disproportionately on the use of force. He believes it is necessary to create democratic security policy that takes a comprehensive approach founded on prevention, increased citizen participation, and reforming the current policing and judicial models in a way that fully respects human rights. In short, the government’s strategy needs to improve and become more efficient.


NEW STRATEGY, NEW APPROACH

To achieve this, Peña Nieto has made a commitment to restoring the peace and freedom for all Mexicans based on what he calls a new National Strategy to Reduce Violence. This revamped strategy will be designed with the express goal of obtaining consensus among the three branches of government, civil society, opinion leaders, and the country’s political parties.

The president-elect also believes that greater attention needs to be placed on the areas of the country with the greatest crime rates as well as those where the state has had little presence. Working in close coordination with local governments and citizens, the president-elect will concentrate on regaining control over and generating economic opportunities in these target areas.

Peña Nieto will also give greater priority to two areas key to stopping the financing and armaments used by organized crime: stemming money laundering operations and illicit arms trafficking. This requires augmenting intelligence operations targeting the financing schemes of criminal networks, the modernization of customs operations to prevent illegal trafficking and greater international cooperation, particularly with the United States.

Taken together, the objective of these efforts is a significant reduction in the country’s homicide and kidnapping rates, as well as diminishing the number of extortions and human trafficking of individuals. These four crimes affect the Mexican people in the most serious and profound ways.

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