Weekly News Summary: February 15

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The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon, summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

This week, the Peña Nieto administration unveiled its new strategy to combat organized crime, promising the creation of a 10,000-strong gendarmerie by year’s end, as well as $9.2 billion for social programs aimed at the country’s most violent towns and neighborhoods.  Mexico’s booming auto industry surpassed tourism and oil exports to become the nation’s main source of foreign exchange. The government’s efforts to transform the Mexican narrative of violence into one of prosperity and social development, however, continued to suffer setbacks following the rape of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco last week. Auto defensa vigilante groups in the state of Guerrero continued to hold over forty people accused of several crimes hostage. North of the border, talk of comprehensive immigration reform continued, with critics warning against conditioning reform efforts on the poorly defined notion of securing the border, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano added, has “never been stronger.”

What Mexican columnists had to say…

An important announcement this week was Enrique Peña Nieto’s launching of the Interdepartmental Commission for Social Prevention of Violence and Crime. According to Miguel Angel Osorio, 118.8 billion pesos will be invested in the program, and the policy will focus in prevention strategies. Jorge Fernandez Menendez questions how EPN’s new security plan will work with Mexico’s current situation. He analyzes how the violence generated by auto defensa groups and the December 1st protesters is the result of a government that has procrastinated to resolve cases of impunity. In terms of impunity and justice, 6 men who are suspected to have participated in the rape case of Spanish tourists were apprehended in Acapulco. While it is still unclear how attorney general Jesus Murillo Karan and his police forces captured the aggressors, it seems that the rapidity it took to solve this case will add more credibility to Mexico’s justice system. Further reports concerning auto defensa groups in Oaxaca and Guerrero continue as Mayor Freddy Gil Pineda—a former radical student— from Santos Reyes Noapala, Oaxaca encouraged his townspeople to obtain weapons and defend themselves. This has become a major problem because state officials have ordered people to return firearms. Lastly, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo comments on the importance of the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship. He notes that an immigration reform should make the Mexican and American governments work closely together and, thus, defend the interests of their migrant Mexican citizens.

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