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English Editorial EL UNIVERSAL

“Reinventing” the country



22 November 2014

In these times of social turbulence, the simplest things that governments can do is to please the desires of change of the population and determine actions which in the immediate run would break with the past. Such break could be the beginning of a project to improve security. But, as the experience in this century has clearly shown, not every radical change has had automatic relevance.

To eliminate institutions, make officials resign, derogate laws, are the kind of actions that satisfy the desire for impact of a population, tired, and with good reason, of the prevailing violence in the country, which ended in the protests held during the last few days for the events in Iguana.

But appearances can be deceiving.

According to Edgardo Buscaglia, professor of Columbia University, and one of the most renown experts in organized crime in Mexico, the way Vicente Fox took on the change of government in 2000 caused the strengthening of crime organizations. To eliminate the authoritarian control, without changing them by democratic controls, caused ultimately the situation lived by former president Enrique Calderón and current head of state Enrique Peña Nieto.

If we have learned something from all these years of extreme violence is that the problem of security in Mexico is not a matter of the “good ones” versus the “bad ones”. We can be sure of that after a series of miss-steps, beginning with the revelation that those we believed to be criminals were really innocents, set up by the true criminals, corrupt policemen.

The lesson, unfortunately, has not been totally learned. Governments on all levels are still reinventing their territories, like if their predecessor was unable to do a single right thing during its administration.

And what better proof of all this is the constant change in the security forces.

The Federal Preventive Police disappeared to give its place to a Federal Investigation Agency, which was in turn eliminated to create a single Ministry of Public Security, now consumed by the National Security Commission and then by the Interior Ministry, now with the addition of a National Gendarmerie. Five federal security corporation created in just three presidential terms.

Maybe some of these changes were needed. The problem is that the lack of analysis of past experiences has taken some new ideas down the road of failure, even when they were good.

And even worse, according to Buscaglia, is that not one of these changes has been able to do what was really important, to “clean” the political class.

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