Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recent News Overview in Mexico

Institutional impunity, human rights violations, and terror continue to fuel Mexico’s weakening security environment. Among the latest pieces of news related to violence in Mexico and drug trafficking:

  • Mexican President Felipe Calderón strongly criticized California’s Proposition 19 ballot initiative that would legalize the sale and use of marijuana. Calderón alleged that, if passed, the California provision would encourage U.S. consumption, thus expanding the market for Mexican traffickers.
  • U.S. officials reported via the Associated Press that the Zetas drug cartel is thwarting efforts to reclaim the body of David Michael Hartley, a U.S. citizen shot on Lake Falcon, along the Texas-Mexico border, while on a fishing trip. Including Hartley, the death toll for U.S. citizens in Mexico is on pace to exceed the record 90 murders in 2009.
  • A USA Today report, “The fear is always there,” documents the dangers of being a Mexican mayor amid the increasing influence of drug cartels. The most recent murder of Antonio Jiménez Baños marks the 12th slaying of a Mexican mayor this year. Experts fear that political assassinations will affect the long-term stability of Mexican democracy because the best and brightest may be too intimidated to run.
  • In response to weak police forces and poor information-sharing practices, President Calderón advanced legislation to consolidate police forces, to create a ‘Mando Unico’ that, it is hoped, will weed out corrupt police officers and drug cartel influence. Opponents of the legislation charge that Calderón should focus on strengthening internal affairs units, increasing civilian oversight, and improving information collection on existing police.
  • Amid violent political assassinations, impunity, and civil unrest, Slate magazine claims that there are a few lessons Mexico can draw from the Colombian experience.

This post was written by CIP intern Allison Gilchrist