“Tell them they are being attacked”
Making the rounds of the media this weekend has been a report listing the world’s fifty most dangerous cities, the top twenty all being Latin American (and nine of them in Mexico) from the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (CCSPJP).
Although there is no question that violence has skyrocketed in Mexico, especially over the course of the present administration, (and in turn has focused media attention on the high levels of violence throughout Latin America), there are reasons to question the data, and — more troubling — to ask ourselves what the purpose of this study is.
The non-appearance of places like Baghdad, or Damascus or Kinshasha on the list is surprising. There is no real indication of how the numbers were crunched, other than using the reported murder rate per 100,000. That Mexican numbers appear to be an internal estimate by CCSPJP which are much higher than the “official” numbers. They don’t jive with either those put out by the Mexican government, or those used by serious number crunchers like Diego Valle-Jones. I am going out on a limb somewhat and assuming the other Latin American numbers are also based on worst-case estimates, whereas those from the rest of the world are simply “official” ones. My reason for making the assumption is that CCSPJP is a Mexican organization and would, naturally, be focused more on Mexico, and Latin America in general.
There may be a reason for that. CCSPJP describes itself as a “non-governmental, non-clerical and apolitical organization”. To a large extent, this is true, in that it has no official ties to the government, to any sect, or to any particular recognized political party. However, this does not mean it is non-partisan.
According to Jorge Carizo McGregor, former UNAM rector and Supreme Court justice, CCSPJP President José Antonio Ortega is a high-ranking member of “el Yunque,” the fascist “secret society” originally meant to defending the Catholic Church in Latin America and Spain from “the forces of Satan”, and suspected of organizing death squads. Ortega does not deny his ties to el Yunque. He was one of the more prominent promoters of the theory that the the murder of Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas in 1993 was a state-sanctioned assassination, and not — as seems most likely — “collateral damage” during a shootout between gangsters.
The CCSPJP itself is a great defender of former Colombian President (presently under indictment for crimes against humanity) Álvaro Uribe and the group advocates a Colombian solution, a la Uribe, for Mexico’s insecurity… best summed up as “kill them all and let the Lord sort ‘em out”.
The group attempted to have Mexican survivors of the Colombian attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador arrested in this country, and claims the left-leaning government of that South American nation, along with Venezuela and Bolivia, are part of some secret plot to foment violence. Ortega himself, as an attorney, tried to have Lucia Morett (one of those survivors, and an UNAM student) arrested as a “narcoterrorist”. While the group supposedly is focused on violence reduction in Mexico, it also finds the time to attack the motives of student protesters in Chile, claiming student leader Carmen Vallejo’s visit to Mexico was part of a communist plot (various CCSPJP podcasts here).
Leftists of all stripes are, in the CCSPJP view, “criminals”. Ortega opined in a 3 October column that the PRD should be de-listed as a political party on the supposed grounds that it encouraged criminality. For that matter, all the political parties are too soft on crime. The present administration is a failure for only going after the leaders of criminal organizations, and the incoming one doesn’t look so good either: unlikely to detain more criminals (as CCSPSJ proposes), and not really changing the present strategy (if there ever was one) for reducing violence.
The CCSPJP does put out “position papers”, but what they boil down to is “socialism = insecurity” In ¿Pobreza = Delito? the group explicitly attacks social programs meant to reduce crime (like the rather successful “Todos somos Juárez” program that helped turn around the crime rate in what CCSPJC claims is the second most dangerous city in the world, by simply offering citizens better access to social services and inclusion in the Mexican safety net) only create more “socialism” and fail to punish the wicked. Other material is meant to disprove that social inequality and crime are related.
Punishment… and destroying the secular left (or secularism in general) is what CCSPJP is all about. Looking through its material, it has less to do with crime in general (although concern about crime is a good “hook” for garnering public support) than about a need for more “final solutions” to criminals… even if it means bringing in foreign forces (the United States).
Fascist? Consider what Hermann Göring — who knew something about Fascism — said about war… whether a war on France and the Soviet Union, or a “war on crime”:
“Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
CCSPSJ has a need to tell the people they are being attacked… and to denounce the “pacifists” for their lack of patriotism — and insistence on human rights, or their squeamishness about methods, or even reporting on abuses — “exposes the country to danger”. Fear-mongering, as a way of building support for Fascism, works the same way in any country.