Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Felipe's Folly: "the violence is going to remain a while with us."

Isn't blood on a premier's hands a potent symbol, often of failure?

Not in Mexico, it seems. The country's president, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, fails to be deterred from war against the drug trafficking organizations by the blooshed it has incurred. No quip or quote makes up for Felipe's folly. Indeed, the man from Michoacan, as Calderon could be known, seems to be able to turn policy failure into an argument for its continuation. As with Washington, D.C., -- as with all poles of power -- Mexico City is a looking-glass world.

Consider the following: Mexico, especially its north, has long been the most dangerous place for journalists to work in the Americas. In a hopefully unusual series of events, last week Mexico observers followed news of a prison director in Durango facilitating a mass murder at a party in Torreon. Then followed the kidnapping of four journalists covering news of a riot at the same prison. These journalists work in extremely dangerous conditions: the country has seen journalists' deaths climb to at least sixty since 2000. (The four journalists from Durango have since been released.) But what's more remarkable is that Calderon immediately used those journalists' kidnappings to signal a new intensity in his war, old yet seemingly new arguments about how violence must be used to defend democracy.

In a sleight of hand known only to self-righteous politicians, the president went as far to say that the drug trafficking organizations have "no limits or scruples."

But what really seems to have no limit under this president -- who has two more years to serve until Mexicans elect a new leader -- are the counting of the dead. The numbers go up and then they soar. (Nobody registers the dead people's names, the human rights abuse of failing to identify is not even an issue brought up by the Mexican mavens at the U.S. State Department.)

This summer has seen astronomical increases in registered homicides. In mid-July 2010, the Attorney General's office tallied 25,000 people as having died in the drug war since 2006. Fast forward a couple of weeks and a new total provided by the Center for Research and National Security (CISEN), a branch of Mexico's Federal Government, jacks the figure up to 28,000.

Felipe Calderon's comment? He sees no end in sight. Mexican newspaper El Financiero reports that Calderon stated that "the violence is going to remain a while with us."

Some analysts offer a correction to Felipe's folly. The problem is they have no place in the power structure. Ernesto Lopez Portillo, director of the Institute for Security and Democracy, offered his take on a war that has seen increasing amounts of funds coming to Mexico via the U.S. Department of State and the Merida Initiative for drug interdiction.
"We are at the stage of having more resources and not having better
results," Lopez Portillo said.
Another security analyst, Eduardo Guerrero, was reported by newspaper Milenio to have said that when the government's forces killed leaders of drug trafficking organizations, such as Nacho Coronel in late July -- the executive branch didn't seem to consider the wave of violence that might spring from it.
"What is more important, controlling demand for methamphetamine or controlling
the wave of violence?"

We know Calderon's answer to Guerrero's question. Soldier on. Quite literally.

So, with his talk of a new wave of violence and its duration, President Calderon has managed to turn a blind eye to his fellow citizen's bloodshed. And he has used the dead bodies to the defence of what is obviously his zero sum strategy -- bloodymindedness might be a better word -- against the drug trafficking organizations.


Michael said...

/sigh... When will people learn. This arrogant asshole will continue to refuse to try a different method while thousands of people and CHILDREN will be killed every year until all drugs all legalized.

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