Thursday, July 5, 2012

Enrique Peña Nieto's Manifesto makes New York Times

MGRR News Analysis -
"There can be neither negotiation nor a truce with criminals." - Enrique Peña Nieto

In a open letter to the American public published Monday (July 2) in the New York Times, Mexico's president-elect plainly sought to assuage fears. "Not to worry," was the clear message of the 45 year old PRI candidate, who won a four way race the day before.

Although the results are still being counted and recounted and not everyone is exiting the stage quietly (Andrés Manuel López Obrador calls 2012 election "very dirty, a national shame"), Peña Nieto appears to have won the contest by solid numbers - about 3.2 million votes (Mexico's IFE declares Enrique Peña Nieto the winner; Enrique Peña Nieto captures Mexican presidency).

The president-elect's letter is here: Mexico’s Next Chapter.

Naturally, a key point is the drug war, and this is what Peña Nieto said:

"I want to address the issue of organized crime and drug trafficking head-on. There can be neither negotiation nor a truce with criminals. I respect President Felipe Calderón for his commitment to ending this scourge; I will continue the fight, but the strategy must change."

Bu in the very next paragraph, Peña Nieto says that his "new strategy" will include creating a "40,000-person National Gendarmerie, a police force similar to those in countries like Colombia, Italy and France, to focus on the most violent rural areas," and expanding "the federal police by at least 35,000 officers and bolster intelligence-gathering and analysis. I will consolidate the state and municipal police forces and provide greater federal oversight, to crack down on corruption within their ranks. I have already sought out the advice of Gen. Óscar Naranjo, who recently retired as Colombia’s national police chief and is one of the world’s top crime fighters."

Does this sound like backtracking on the drug war? It doesn't to me. It sounds more like adding a new style of uniform and shoulder insignia to the military wardrobe. Which is why I've said before that Enrique Peña Nieto's drug war "strategic changes" would be largely cosmetic and not substantive. New York Times got Mexican candidates' drug war strategies wrong.

By the way, the PRIsta had another message for America two days before its birthday. It's the same one which Felipe Calderón has been preaching since the day he took office on Dec. 1, 2006. Peña Nieto said that in order to win this war, "other nations, particularly the United States, must do more to curtail demand for drugs."

That's the part of the letter which many north of the border might prefer not to think about.

July 26 - Asesor de Peña Nieto plantea alianzas trasnacionales contra el crimen
July 26 - Acabar con el narco, en manos de mexicanos: asesor de Peña Nieto
July 8 - Mexican voters got suckered on drug war
July 8 - Peña Nieto: En la lucha contra narcotráfico no habrá un cambio radical
July 7 - Security consultant elaborates on "new" Mexican drug war strategy
July 6 - Rechaza Peña agentes armados de EU en México

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