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Mutiny? Labor action? Demand for justice?

7 August 2010

I don’t know what to make of this… From Jornada, with additional information from Diario de Juárez (the photos are from El Diario staff) and others.

At least 300 armed and hooded Federal Police officers blocked Av. Lopez Mateos and surrounded their temporary headquarters at Hotel Playa, leading to six injuries after one hundred officers were called to break up the demonstration.

The La Playa demonstrations allegedly walked off the job to demand that the Public Ministry open their offices on Saturday, to free a fellow officer, who had been detained for narcotics possession.  The demonstrators were also demanding the arrest of Federal Police Commandant  Salomón Alarcón, whom they accuse of demanding kick-backs and forcing officers to take part in extortions and kidnappings, under threat of being “seeded” with narcotics.

The striking group also demanded the presence of a Federal Prosecutor with a warrant to search Comandant Alarcón’s room, where they said narcotics and illegal weapons would be found.  During the stand-off, an aide to Alarcón, Julián González, was detained as he attempted to leave through a back entrance… allegedly carrying a quantity of narcotics.

Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas Rosas  met with the demonstrators.  Four police commandants have been relieved of command, and are federal ministers are conducting an investigation.

Just WOW!  There have been police strikes demanding honest commanders before.  And it sounds like the striking officers had legitimate complaints.  What’s troubling is that this “new, improved, better-n-ever” federal police force was not the magic bullet it was held out to be.

Police strikes like this have followed attempts to hire better educated and better prepared officers.  In one way they are good — showing that officers themselves are less amenable to bribery and extra-curricular criminality — but they also reveal that justice reforms have been not thought out, nor are they being implemented holistically.

Honest cops can’t do much to change the police apparatus if the commanders are the same old crooks and reforms in the justice delivery system are shunted aside in favor of simply more police officers.  If nothing else, this shows that there are not enough federal ministers (the prosecutor who makes a preliminary finding of probable cause to issue an arrest warrant) if one can’t be found on a weekend.

More troubling perhaps is that if the strikers’ complaints are even marginally true (and they look to be true) it calls into question the validity of any narcotics charges in which the Federal Police have been involved.  Even the less credible stories of police evidence “planting” have to taken seriously now.

And, though I shouldn’t have to say it… 400 angry armed people are  scary.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    7 August 2010 8:51 pm

    I’ll applaud the striking federales for their efforts to expose a corrupt commander, maybe it’s a sign of a real change coming to Mexico.

    Having personally expericed the “mordida” many times over a fifty year period, makes me wonder where Mexico should actually be ranked on the corrupt nation scale.

  2. 8 August 2010 12:13 pm

    The same place on “corruption scales” it’s always been… about the middle. That police are more likely to solicit bribes (and do) here than in some places is no secret, but compared to much of the planet, cops here are models of rectitude. Try some of the former soviet republics, or most African nations, or even Central America.

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