Todos Somos Juarez: An Innovative Strategy to Tackle Violence and Crime

February 11, 2014

Ciudad JuárezLatin American Policy Journal, 2013

In the last few years, Mexico has been living a very complex public security situation. For decades, criminal organizations were allowed to grow and gain strength, which seriously affected the lives of ordinary citizens in towns and cities across Mexico. But in few parts of the country had the situation reached such dramatic levels as in Ciudad Juarez. Crime and violence here grew systematically, due to three main factors: First, the expansion of criminal organizations as they diversified their main line of business from exporting illegal drugs to the U.S. to retail sales of drugs in Mexico. Second, was the weakness of local law enforcement agencies and third, a serious weakening of the social fabric.
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AL DÍA: ¿Qué opinan? Firmas del día: 12/05/12

December 5, 2012

Each morning, we will bring you an assortment of op-ed pieces from major Mexican dailies.

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelMilenio:

President Peña Nieto will not attend the inauguration today of Miguel Angel Mancera as governor of the Federal District, saying that if he attends one, than he must attend all, and that is not the role of the President. The PRI is more certain that Francisco Arroyo Vieyra Guanajuato will be the new president of the Board of the Chair of Deputies. Lawmakers, led by Manlio Fabio Beltrones, have ruled out the possibility that Héctor Gutiérrez de la Garza, who has been  promoted to the position, will occupy the chair of Jesus Murillo Karam. Felipe Calderon is still active on Twitter, though members of his cabinet have since deleted their accounts.

Mexico’s Drug Lords Are Dropping Like Flies

October 19, 2012

Business Insider, 10/19/2012

The most wanted men in Mexico are tumbling. Will crime follow suit? In March 2009 the Mexican government published a list of 37 men believed to  be running drug gangs. The alleged bandits were named and rewards of up to 30m  pesos ($2m) each were offered for their capture. The government’s normally  stodgy official gazette listed the villains by their nicknames: Monkey, Beardy,  Taliban and so on. It was a risky decision: the list could have become an  embarrassment if its members had remained free.

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Mexico Now “A Better Neighbor,” Calderon Tells U.S. Audience

September 25, 2012

Fox News Latino, 9/25/2012

President Calderon

Felipe Calderón, due to step down as president of Mexico on Nov. 30, said Monday that he will be leaving behind “a stronger nation and a better neighbor.”

The outgoing head of state addressed a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

His six-year term has witnessed a strengthening of the rule of law and an economic “transformation” based on “financial discipline, economic freedom and increased competitiveness.”

Calderón expressed his wish for bilateral cooperation to continue with the next administrations of the United States and Mexico, warning that “no nation can succeed without the support of its strategic partners.”

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The Mexican Press Under Fire

August 27, 2012

The Wall Street Journal, 8/26/12

Five and a half years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated an all-out war on the Mexican cartels that run drugs to American consumers, organized-crime rages in Mexico. But it is not limited to narcotics trafficking. Having made a bundle off prohibition, mastered the art of corrupting officials, and provoked a generalized breakdown in the rule of law, other gangster businesses are booming. When the press dares to expose their operations, it gets the El Norte treatment or worse. The paper has reported that 47 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, 13 have disappeared and there have been 40 attacks against media properties.

The Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice (CCSPJP), a Mexico-based nongovernmental organization which tracks homicide statistics, found that five of the 10 deadliest cities in the world last year were in Mexico. The Council has also reported that of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world in 2011, 40 are in Latin America. Last year, for the first time, Monterrey joined that list as cartel violence spiked.

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Mexico’s president says homicides down 15 percent to 20 percent in first half of 2012

July 16, 2012

The Washington Post/The Associated Press, 07/15/2012

Calderon said 2011 had proved “a climactic point” in drug-related killings, though he did not cite specific figures.

“Today, violence related to rivalries between criminals is declining,” he said. “It is higher than when I assumed the presidency, yes, but I insist it is a phenomenon that comes from the brutality and conflicts between cartels, and not precisely from the government’s actions.”

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Will PRI’s Return Mark Shift in U.S. Relations?

July 12, 2012

The Texas Tribune, 07/11/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

Peña Nieto has said he wouldn’t make deals with elements of organized crime. He also says he will continue Calderón’s battle with cartels, which has led to more than 55,000 deaths in the country since 2006. But, he adds, it will be modified. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Peña Nieto said the campaign would not undergo radical changes but would focus on tackling smaller pockets of criminals.

Andrew Selee, a senior adviser at the Woodrow Wilson’s International Center for Scholars’ Mexico Institute, said that although the change might sound alarm bells for U.S. lawmakers, it’s not an uncommon practice here.

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Future Generation Will Remember the Battle: Felipe Calderón [In Spanish]

May 17, 2012

Reforma, 5/17/2012

President Felipe Calderón assured that future generations will remember this administration as the first one to battle organized crime.

He was interviewed by journalist Peter Greenberg and assured that in the medium-term Mexico will be one of the safest places in the world.

“This has been the administration that decided to act in order to fight against crime. Future generations will remember that this administration initiated the battle for security,” sustained Calderón.

After Greenberg asked the President to send a message to the United States, Calderón said that the American people should be certain that Mexicans are not the enemy. He also said that Mexico and the United States should reinforce NAFTA and keep a vision of mutual responsibility in relation to anti-crime policies.

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The great inherited challenges for Mexico [In Spanish]

May 16, 2012

Letras Libres, 05/2012
Pamela K. Starr

In this report, Starr evaluates the Calderón administration through its successes and failures. She argues that although President Calderón accomplished various changes in public policy these became eclipsed by the failures of this administration. The limited yet significant changes occurred in the areas of fiscal policy, pensions, energy, an almost universal health coverage and macroeconomic stability in a context of international volatility. On the negative side, however, there remain endemic problems such as the increase in poverty, growing dissatisfaction with democracy and the persistent levels of corruption and impunity. The public’s general perception is that Calderón left the country in a worse state than it was five years ago.

The first two years into the Calderón administration, however, made strides in political reforms. Calderón’s first legislative accomplishment occurred in March of 2007 when he obtained a reform to the pension system for government officials. A second legislative reform dealt with fiscal policy through a legislation that reduced the taxes paid by Pemex. The legislation also wanted to impose a tax upon the workers in the informal sector and create a minimum tax for businesses known as the Impuesto Empresarial a Tasa Única. In the fall of the following year, Congress finally approved a legislation that allowed for limited private investment in Pemex.

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Op-ed: Critical Decision for the Next President [In Spanish]

April 24, 2012

Reforma, Richard Downie

In this editorial, Downie argues that the key question for the United States in regards to the 2012 presidential election in Mexico is whether or not the new president will continue to fight against transnational organized crime in cooperation with its neighbors to the north and to the south.

Back in 2006, President Calderón decided to step against drug cartels in order to combat corruption and reinstall law and order in the country. After a death toll of 50,000, however, many Mexicans are increasingly weary of Calderón’s politics and thus seek change.

The three presidential candidate in this year’s election offer contrasting points of view on this matter. According to Downie, whoever wins will have four categories of options from which to chose from as a means to reduce violence and tackle illicit drug-trafficking:

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