Is Mexico’s New Security Plan in Guerrero Doomed to Fail?

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Mexico is launching a new security initiative in its most violent state, Guerrero, but doubts persist over its future success.

On October 27, Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong announced a new security plan to restore peace to the southwestern state of Guerrero, reported Excelsior.

The plan will bring a surge in federal security forces to the state and the creation of an anti-kidnapping unit in the city of Acapulco, as well as a new highway between the Costa Grande and Tierra Caliente regions intended to reduce insecurity by fostering development, according to Animal Politico.

Leading the security plan — which was announced by Osorio Chong after meeting with Guerrero’s new governor, Hector Astudillo Flores — will be General Alejandro Saavedra.

According to Animal Politico, Guerrero’s murder rate of 41.5 per 100,000 citizens is Mexico’s highest, and the official figure of 1,484 murders in the state through the first nine months of 2015 represents a 29 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

InSight Crime Analysis 

Skepticism remains over the federal government’s new Guerrero initiative and promises by Osorio Chong and Astudillo Flores to improve the state’s security. Mexican authorities have launched a number of similar security initiatives in Guerrero over the past decade to little or no success.

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Indeed, a recent report by the International Crisis Group found violence has continued in Guerrero despite previous deployments of federal forces. Instead of a lack of troops, the Crisis Group states Guerrero’s biggest security challenge is the public’s profound mistrust in the government as a result of impunity on human rights abuses and high levels of corruption. This has created a situation where horrific crimes like the 2014 disappearance of 43 students are no anomaly, but rather part of a pattern of violence that goes unpunished under the gaze of complicit or inept officials. 

To break this cycle of violence in Guerrero, the Crisis Group recommends the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto give prosecution of unsolved disappearances and major human rights violations to an independent body backed by an international investigative commission.

Nonetheless, as the recent surge of federal forces in neighboring Michoacan state suggests, the Peña Nieto administration appears content recycling militarized security policies to combat violence in this part of the country. It’s unlikely, however, that Guerrero’s most recent security plan will obtain a new and lasting improvement.

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