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Editorial: Violence Pushes Mexico Toward Militarization

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Dec 03, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- Replacing Tijuanas Secretary of Public Security, Alberto Capella Ibarra, is a response to the wave of violence that has taken more than 360 lives in this border city since September.

The appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Julin Leyzaola Prez, formerly Tijuanas Municipal Police Chief, and of First Captain Gustavo Huerta Martnez to Prezs post, reinforces the military's presence in the city. Soldiers patrol the streets, but this has not slowed the bloody war between the Arellano Flix gang and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is killing the innocent as well as the guilty.

We are concerned whenever an army takes on the role of police for which it is usually not prepared. This raises red flags regarding the respect for human rights, which must not be ignored in this situation either.

Military involvement in civilian security is generally a bad idea, although Mexico has few alternatives.

President Calderns government recently estimated that 49 percent of the countrys 56,000 police officers were not fit to hold their positions.

This percentage reflects a bleak outlook with deep structural roots that extend well beyond the violence spawned by drug-trafficking. The National Survey on Public Safety showed that 60 percent of Mexicans do not feel safe in their country because of crime, regardless of its origins.

The circumstances in which Mexico finds itself have been developing over a long period, and the solutions will not come overnight. It is true that criminal behavior is fought over the long term with education and jobs, but people are being assaulted, kidnapped, and killed now.

Mexicans have no alternative but to defend their right to public safety by supporting the fight against drug trafficking, the battle against corruption in the government and police, and the building of a more equitable society. The problem is so grave that no one can expect an easy solution.

Related Articles:

Arrests of Mexicos Top Cops: Real or Symbolic?

Violence, Rights Violations Soar in Tijuana

Femicides in Mexico Remain Unsolved

A Border Press Emergency

Juarez Reporter Murdered, Attacks on Journalists Intensify

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