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Sometimes a stupid notion

12 February 2010

The BBC, among many others, have reported on the less-than-cordial reception Felipe Calderón received in Ciudad Juarez yesterday. Protesters were roughed up and arrested by riot police and even those in his audience were hardly in a mood to support what he now claims are “new initiatives” to resolve the sense of insecurity that afflicts the city’s residents.

The president promised improvements in health, education, welfare and infrastructure for the poverty-stricken northern city, but insisted he would not withdraw the 6,000 troops deployed there.

“I’ve promised the parents of the victims that we’ll find a new impetus for the fight against the violent gangs,” he said. “We have to have better co-ordination between the different institutions of government and the police forces to take on this challenge – a fight that we have yet to win.”

But as soon as he finished his speech and opened the floor to questions, the criticism started to flow, says the BBC’s Julian Miglierini in Mexico City.

“You come here one or two years late,” a local leader told Mr Calderon, while a woman shouted: “You are not welcome here.”

All those who spoke expressed their frustration about the level of violence, our correspondent adds.

They also complained about the lack of a proper infrastructure and alleged human rights abuses by the security forces.

The federal government’s perceived lack of efficiency in dealing with the crisis was another major grievance.

The BBC goes in forunderstatement. That’s the British way.

SDPNoticias (the “SDP” is for Sendero de Peje” — Peje’s Way, Peje being a nickname for Andrés Manuel López Obrador) has their own Mexican way  of looking at the Calderón Administration.  Given that these are people who don’t even recognize Calderón as President, you can’t expect them to be fair… but given the proposal, maybe they are balanced in their presentation.     My translation:

Former PAN presidential candidate Felipe Calderón is trying to convince the citizens of  Ciudad Juarez that simply by walking the streets and using public accommodations, they will “rescue” the city from criminals.

In his Ciudad Juarez public address, Calderon said that “when people use public  spaces, they are rescued from criminals”.

He suggested that using the American football field, and mothers forcing their children to play sports will rescue these public areas from criminals.

Calderon made this statement in response to complaints from a woman in the audience who questioned how using the football field, as proposed by Felipe Calderón, could be considered a “solution” to insecurity about crime.

The address was a response to the recent  armed massacre of several youths  in their own homes while celebrating a party.

The party was held, ironically, because parents believe the city is too insecure to let their children out at night.

In other words, organized crime figures don’t care where the find people, either in public spaces or in their own homes.

It is worth nothing that prior to now, Calderon had admitted to being incapable solving the problem of insecurity.

One Comment leave one →
  1. don quixote permalink
    12 February 2010 8:10 am

    Richard, I realize you have probably heard enough war stories about the Juarez situation, but I felt I must share this story depicting the frustration of many Juarez residents.
    A long time friend of mine in El Paso, who’s uncle owned a jewelry business in Juarez recounted this tale of woe to me recently.

    The uncle, trying to hang on to his family business in Juarez was at first overjoyed that Calderon had sent in the military to try and restore order and reduce the awful murders, crime, and narco terrorism.
    A week after the military set up in the city Uncle was visited by a military officer and some soldiers, they introduced themselves and assured Uncle that he would be safe and free from extortion attempts. Uncle was also informed that this service would cost him three thousand dollars (not peso’s!),.
    Uncle was startled and told the officer that he would talk this over with his wife and get back to him the next day.
    Uncle and wife decided to make a stand, refuse this extortion attempt.
    Next day Uncle informed the officer that he would not be held up and refused to pay.
    That evening the jewelry business was visited by the federal troops who searched the premises and surprise, surprise, came up with a small amount of cocaine and even some 9mm ammunition (a federal offense in Mexico).
    Uncle was taken to jail and after a hour or so he was visited by an attorney who was provided by the military. The attorney advised uncle that he could get the charges dropped and that his fee would be (such a coincidence!), three thousand dollars,(not pesos!,).
    Uncle called family members and got the three thousand dollars, paid the attorney and was released.
    The next day Uncle went to visit the attorney in his office, funny, there was no office at the address given to him.
    Uncle then shut down his Juarez business in frustration and fatigue from it all.
    Uncle, is like many business people along the frontera, moving his family to El Paso.

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