Organized crime suspects displayed to media in Mexico

The Mexican government has announced a new low-key press strategy regarding detained drug trafficking suspects, breaking away from the former administration's tactic of parading them in front of the media.

President Enrique Peña Nieto's communications team announced that suspects will now be identified using their real names rather than aliases, and the authorities will no longer arrange press photographs of detainees before trials. They will also end the practice of publishing the name of the criminal organization that a suspect allegedly belongs to.

Officials added that media must not broadcast the detention or presentation of suspected criminals, as to do so violates Article 63 of the Federal Radio and Television Law, which prohibits "apology for violence or crime."

The government's list of the 37 most-wanted criminals, which gives their aliases and cartel affiliations, will also be changed.

Government representative Eduardo Sanchez Hernandez told news agency Notimex, "We will report in a neutral tone and refer to the suspects by their first and last names, like any other citizen."

InSight Crime Analysis

The Mexican government's new strategy marks a departure from the controversial approach of the former administration, in line with Peña Nieto's stated intention to break away from his predessor's "reactionary" security strategy to focus on violence prevention.

Former President Felipe Calderon's policy of parading suspected criminals before the press had been criticized by both Mexican politicians and international observers for glorifying crime and failing to meet human rights standards on the treatment of detainees.

As one congressman commented last year, setting up press conferences in which alleged drug bosses posed for cameras in front of weapons, cash and drugs, can give suspects kudos and create false heroes for young people.

In a 2011 report, US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch warned that Mexico's justice system "often presumes suspects are guilty until proven innocent, rather than requiring the prosecution to present solid evidence" -- a violation of international human rights law.

The report documented the torture, extrajudicial killing and disappearance of crime suspects by security forces, who were found to be abusing civilians under the cover of the Calderon administration's "war" on drugs. The new government's change of policy is thus welcome news, albeit a small step.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.