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Mexico Makes Strides Against Narcos

Article Summary:

Despite the pervasiveness of grisly headlines, Mexican security forces are nonetheless making gains in the fight against organized crime, says the country’s secretary for public security.

Original Article Text From The Dialogue via Google Translate :

Mexico Making Strides in Fight Against Cartels: Public Security Secretary
Despite the pervasiveness of grisly headlines, Mexican security forces are nonetheless making gains in the fight against organized crime, the country’s secretary for public security, Genaro García Luna, said Wednesday.

Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center, García Luna argued that measuring the effectiveness of the country’s security strategy must go beyond data from just a single year.

“The process takes time. If you look at the figure for one year without looking at the larger process, it will look like a failure.” Reducing violence, such as happened in New York and Medellín takes, on average, seven to eight years, he said.

Pointing to statistics from the National Public Security System, García Luna noted that the country’s homicide rate per capita has dropped steadily since 1997 and is lower than those of Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil.

While Mexico is beginning to see breakthroughs in its battle against drug cartels, he said, more important is the capacity building that has occurred over the past few years, furnishing the police with more advanced technology, systems, procedures and human resources.

Nevertheless, García Luna’s speech came just hours after the Mexican government released the latest drug war statistics, which recorded 12,903 murders linked to organized crime from January to September of 2011. The figure brings the official number of drug-fueled deaths to 47,515 since President Felipe Calderón launched the government’s offensive in late 2006.

The bloody toll has propelled public security to the forefront of Mexicans’ concerns, along with the economy, in an election year. PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that if elected, he would withdraw the army from the streets within six months of taking office, while Calderón’s government has aimed to highlight its successes.

“It’s important to note that 2011 is the first year in which growth in the homicide rate is significantly lower than in previous years,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement, Reuters reported. The latest figures for drug-related homicides represent an 11 percent increase from the same period in 2010, but between 2009 and 2010, they grew by 70 percent.

According to García Luna, who also met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and officials from the FBI, ATF and DEA during his three-day trip to Washington, perception of the problems is exacerbated by the excessive brutality of the violence. “The foundation of a safe country is in the early detection of crime. When society is inhibited, or intimidated, they stop participating and this severs the process,” he said.

Link to Original Article:

From The Dialogue

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