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

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

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...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...