Governor Promises Security Crackdown Along Michoacan Border

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The governor of Guerrero announced plans to increase security along its shared border with Michoacan, a state that has recently seen an outbreak of conflict between the Mexican government, criminal gangs, and vigilante groups. 

Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero said that he committed to increasing military and federal police presence in Guerrero’s Tierra Caliente region, along the state’s approximate 250 kilometer border with Michoacan. 

Following a massive military deployment to Michoacan in southwest Mexico, which began May 21, Aguirre said it was necessary to bolster security in Guerrero in order to prevent the so-called “cockroach” effect, in which criminal groups — facing pressure from authorities in one region — migrate elsewhere. “We will not allow crime to come and contaminate our state,” he added.

The governor had recently announced that an additional 150 federal police would be deployed to Tierra Caliente.

InSight Crime Analysis

Guerrero and Michoacan have long been affected by Mexico’s drug-related violence. The recent military surge — which saw some 4,000 soldiers and about 1,000 police deployed to Michoacan, with a focus on Tierra Caliente — is intended to root out criminal groups such as the remnants of the Familia Michoacana, and splinter group the Knights Templar. General lawlessness has also prompted the rise of vigilante groups, which have reportedly clashed with criminal gangs in Michoacan.  

Guerrero, meanwhile, was recently listed among Mexico’s five most violent states for the first trimester of 2013, according to think-tank the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO). Notably, Michoacan was not on the list. Guerrero is host to numerous criminal organizations, including the Beltran Leyva Organization, the Zetas, the Familia Michoacana, and powerful gangs that have splintered off from the bigger cartels.

In this context, it is worth asking whether Aguirre’s focus on the dangers of spillover crime from Michoacan is meant to distract from Guerrero’s own, very real security problems. His pledge to bulk up security also raises some practical questions over how a security surge would better protect the Michoacan-Guerrero frontier. Asides from increasing the number of roadblocks on the major highways, it is hard to see how the security forces could prevent the very determined from crossing state lines. 

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