Mexico's president announces new security plan

In an effort to quell the outcry over the enforced disappearance of 43 student protesters, allegedly murdered on the orders of local officials, Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a list of 10 security and justice reforms.

Two key proposals from the list announced on November 27 would remove powers from local security forces, requiring modifications to the constitution.

The first would allow the federal government to take over security in municipalities where there is evidence that local authorities are colluding with organized crime. The second would replace all of the country's 1,800 municipal police forces with 32 state police commands, and sanction any governors or mayors who fail to comply with this order, reported Milenio. This refers to the "mando unico," or "unified command" proposed by the president earlier in his term, which has not been fully implemented due to resistance from local authorities.

A third measure aims to better define the responsibilities of various security bodies. The government also plans to deploy federal forces in the conflict-hit southwestern states of Michoacan and Guerrero -- the latter is home to the city of Iguala, where the 43 students were disappeared in September.

Four additional reforms address judicial weaknesses and government transparency, including plans to strengthen investigations into enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses. 

Other proposals include the creation of a national emergency phone number and a unique ID code for all Mexican citizens.

InSight Crime Analysis

Peña Nieto's announcements are further evidence that the Iguala case is forcing the government to place the issue of security front and center -- something the president has attempted to avoid throughout his term by shifting the emphasis to the economy.

The disappearance of the 43 student protesters has sparked ongoing mass protests, and has brought Mexico's human rights record under global scrutiny. The case, in which the Iguala mayor was arrested for allegedly ordering attacks on the students by a local criminal group and the municipal police, forced the public to recognize the depths of corruption in Mexico's local governments and highlighted the broader problem of disappearances.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy

However, Peña Nieto's proposals contain no radical departures from past initiatives. Plans to consolidate the police force have been ongoing for years, while some analysts say this approach fails to address underlying factors contributing to police corruption, such as the lack of will on the part of the government to address the issue. Sending federal forces to take control of security in violence-beseiged states, as practiced by Peña Nieto's predecessor Felipe Calderon, has often failed to cut violence, and been accompanied by massive human rights violations.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

In the northwest corner of Guatemala, a little known criminal organization known as the "Huistas" dominates the underworld, in large part due its ties with businessmen, law enforcement officials and politicians.

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Rodrigo Tovar Pupo never imagined it would come to this: dressed in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington DC courtroom and standing in front of a United States federal judge, the grandson of a wealthy Colombian cattle rancher and nephew to a governor was facing a possible...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and its largest economy. But an intransigent elite, an ambitious military and a weak state has opened the way for organized crime to flourish, especially since the return of democracy.

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

By the end of 1993, Pablo Escobar was cornered. The cocaine king -- known as "El Patrón" -- was running out of money and options. His top assassins were either dead or had turned themselves in. Almost all of the senior members of the Medellín Cartel were...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Like any arm of the justice system, the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) had its battles with elites who used their charm and their muscle to try to influence what and who the celebrated commission...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

As it tends to happen in Honduras, the news began as a well-heeled rumor: Javier Rivera Maradiaga, the oldest of the three Rivera Maradiaga brothers still alive and leader of the feared and powerful Honduran drug trafficking group known as the Cachiros, had handed himself in to...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

On the morning of April 5, 1988, Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros left his palatial Tegucigalpa estate for a jog. Matta Ballesteros was wanted for murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in several countries, but in Honduras he felt safe. He regularly hosted parties for high-level officials at...

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them...