WE kill the criminals?
The following editorial (my translation) appeared in today’s El Universal and was read on the radio:
The massive uproar over the mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia’s announcement that he would create an anti-crime “cleaning squad” is compounded by his revelation of a suspected drug trafficker’s execution in Mexico City, before Capital officials had confirmed the event. Death squads in Mexico? A grave development, but the evidence has been there for some time. The real problem is that people do not seem angry that discretionary authorities are promoting the use of brute force.
While there is no national survey to confirm it, citizen comments suggest support. A chilling coincidence with this is discussion of the death penalty. Seventy-five percent of people supported it in 2008, even with the knowledge of this country’s inefficient judicial system, which leaves in doubt the guilt of those arrested and convicted. One party ran on a platform supporting the death penalty and won votes with their stand. Who benefits when politicians run on on “vengence” platform, like the mayor of the Monterrey suburb? It is a terrible precedent.
Citizens must understand that opposition to death squads is not squeamishness. They understand history and human behavior. Mercenaries hired by governments or business groups to eliminate criminals eventually become part of a gang of kidnappers or assassins. It has happened before here in Mexico, with an elite military group giving rise to the “Zetas”. In Colombia, paramilitary groups were established entrepreneurs that the country who now can not undo the damage. Civilians — who can not afford “white guards” — always end up in the crossfire.
Impunity must never be used to justify the irrational use of force.
While the stress of fighting even foreign wars has been known to dehumanize soldiers and even break down professionals trained to deal with brutality, fighting a “war” against one’s one population is even more likely to have consequences within the population. Unleashing mercenaries — whose only loyalty is to a paycheck — is an invitation to disaster.