Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mexico Security Chief Admits Federal Failure to Deliver Security, Calls for Reform

Mexico's Secretary of Governance (" Gobernación:" rough translation: internal security), Fernando Gómez Mont, admitting the current national anti-criminal strategy has failed, indicated yesterday at a press conference (click here for Diario story) that the judicial and law enforcement systems are in need of reform. He also indicated President Calderon has given him and his institution the task of initiating a dialogue with political, social, and economic leaders throughout the country.

"First, we have to specify the roles of the federal, state, and municipal governments as part of the reconstruction of public security in this country. We have to admit our procedures are still ambiguous in determining who and at what moment a case can be declared to fall under the category of organized crime (and hence subject to federal jurisdiction as a national security issue)," he said.

Given the climate of violence, he said, we can no longer postpone a decision to specify which institutions should be preserved, which need to be rebuilt, which ones modernized, which abolished, and which new ones should be created. We need to choose among our law enforcement agencies, provide effective autonomy to local judicial entities, and debate the National Security Law, which calls for the participation of the armed forces in providing interior security.

He also indicated it was time to approve reforms that will be more effective against money laundering, pirating, extortion, kidnapping, and the treatment of citizens.

Finally, he called upon the PRI (the largest political party in Mexico) to recognize its responsibility to the public, and to begin to propose alternatives for issues of national security. "It is time to leave animosities behind and find the will power to form a national consensus. We recognize that without the will to do it, change is impossible," he said.

Rumors have been circulating for several weeks that Gomez Mont would be replaced as the internal security chief, given the inability of the political system to contain the rapid spread of organized crime and violence. This press conference would suggest President Calderon has decided to stick with him for the last two years of his presidential administration.

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