March 5, 2014
La detención de “El Chapo” es de enorme importancia pero su trascendencia dependerá de lo que se haga a partir de ahora. Todavía es prematuro aventurar conclusiones, pero sí es posible elucubrar sobre sus potenciales implicaciones.
La propaganda en torno al Chapo me ha hecho recordar la caracterización que de Adolph Eichmann hizo Hannah Arendt cuando cubrió su juicio en Jerusalém. Aunque es evidente que el holocausto nada tiene que ver -en dimensiones, escala, trascendencia, horror o maldad- con el narco, la fotografía del personaje de Sinaloa permite observar que se trata de un mero eslabón de una larga cadena donde el individuo, aislado de su mafia, no es más que un simple “funcionario” mas. Por eso, por más que sea meritoria su captura, el problema que asedia a la población –extorsión y secuestro- no cambia con la detención de un capo sino exige atención a todo el sistema que lo hace posible. La gran pregunta es si esta detención envalentonará al gobierno para enfrentar el verdadero desafío.
February 24, 2014
CBS News, 2/22/14
Make sure you listen to Mexico Institute’s Director Duncan Woods speak about what the arrest of “El Chapo’ could mean both for Mexico and the United States, here.
February 19, 2014
The Wall Street Journal, 2/18/14
The wave of drug-related violence that swept through Mexico in recent years has been contained and isolated, and further improvement could allow the government to pull back the armed forces from the fray, President Enrique Peña Nieto said late Monday.
“I can´t say that this would happen over the short term, based on the decline of crime rates, but what´s desirable over the medium term is that at some point the army goes back to the barracks, and that the Mexican State could have civilian authorities that are much more reliable,” the Mexican leader said in an interview at the presidential compound in Mexico City.
There has been good news. The overall murder rate in Mexico fell about 16% last year compared with the previous year. But kidnapping and extortions rose. And in the western state of Michoacan, where the army had pulled back somewhat, the brutal Knights Templar cartel gained strength, Mr. Peña Nieto was forced to call an unprecedented deployment of federal forces.
February 18, 2014
LA Times, 2/16/14
In the last few weeks, concern over the state’s stability has increased with the arrival of the armed vigilantes on the outskirts of the troubled capital, and their open deliberations over whether to proceed to the center of government power. Equally troubling is the related case of Damian, a prominent ex-politician, civic leader and vigilante ally whose SUV was attacked Jan. 28 by gunmen as he returned from a town meeting in a suburb the autodefensas had recently taken over. At the gathering, Damian openly accused the mayor of Chilpancingo, Mario Moreno Arcos, who was also in attendance, of colluding with organized criminals.
February 12, 2014
Daily News, 2/10/14
The new, unexpected accord between armed rebels and the government they despised seemed a bright hope earlier this year. But days later, as details leaked out, anger replaced anticipation. A rebel fighter privy to its details tells the Daily News the alliance is doomed to fail, and with it any immediate chance of peace in the important, but impoverished state. Intelligence and foreign policy experts wonder how the military will be able to control an estimated 20,000 armed civilians when all previous attempts have failed in the lawless state.
Fighters as well as villagers are disheartened because militia leaders who signed the accord “didn’t ask the rest of the communities how they feel about this agreement from a government that has always been against us,” the militia member told The News.
To read more and see mention of Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson…
February 11, 2014
Latin 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.
January 10, 2014
The Los Angeles Times, 01/09/2014
Nearly seven in 10 Mexican city dwellers believe that crime has rendered their cities unsafe, according to a new poll that underscores the ongoing challenge facing President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office more than a year ago promising to beat back the lawlessness that affects law-abiding Mexicans.
The December poll was released late Wednesday and is the second of its kind to be produced by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. [Link in Spanish] It also found that 65% of city-dwelling adults had witnessed a robbery or assault in the last three months, and 39% had witnessed a drug deal. Moreover, 62% of respondents believed that conditions would remain the same or worsen in the coming year.
January 10, 2014
The Washington Post, 01/09/2014
Fifty federal police officers armed with black assault rifles guard the gates of an exclusive private hospital in this cosmopolitan capital.
They are patrolling the polished stone lobby, standing sentry under palm trees, surveilling the Starbucks. Private security guards and local police man the doors, driveways and elevators.
December 16, 2013
The New York Times, 12/14/2013
With violence down to a quarter of its peak, Ciudad Juárez, a perennial symbol of drug war devastation, is experiencing what many here describe as a boom. New restaurants pop up weekly, a few with a hipster groove. Schools and homes in some neighborhoods are gradually filling again, while new nightclubs throb on weekends with wall-to-wall teenagers and 20-somethings who insist on reclaiming the freedom to work and play without being consumed by worry.
Critics here fear that the changes are merely cosmetic, and there is still disagreement over what, exactly, has led to the drastic drop in violence. Some attribute it to an aggressive detention policy by the police; others say the worst killers have died or fled, or that the Sinaloa drug cartel has simply defeated its rivals, leaving a peace of sorts that could quickly be undone.
December 4, 2013
BBC News, 12/4/2013
A truck carrying medical radioactive material has been stolen in Mexico, the UN’s nuclear watchdog says.
Mexico told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the truck was carrying a “dangerous radioactive source” used for cancer treatments when it was stolen on Monday. Mexico’s Nuclear Security Commission said that at the time of the theft, the cobalt-60 teletherapy source was “properly shielded”. But the commission warned it could be “extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged”.