Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Officials announce delay in arrival of federal gendarmerie units, as EPN claims progress in drug war

The Calderón strategy, but under the tricolor banner

Guadalajara -
At the 34th meeting of the National Public Security Council in Mexico City today president Enrique Peña Nieto painted an optimistic picture, saying federal and state security forces have managed to capture or kill 62 of the most wanted 121 organized crime bosses during his nine month old administration.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party chief executive also boasted that drug war deaths have fallen 14% since he took over on Dec. 1.

The first claim mirrored those often made by former National Action Party president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, who frequently referred to a list of 37 of the most wanted drug cartel operatives. By the end of his PAN administration, Calderón officials said that about 25 had been decommissioned.

Despite many press prognostications to the contrary, it is now generally accepted that Peña Nieto is following a national security strategy virtually identical to his predecessor's, focused on the same goal of taking down key narco bosses. Mexican army captures leader of Gulf Cartel. The drug war enters its 81st month on Sept. 1. In December the government said it was confronting 60-80 cartels.

With respect to drug war deaths, today's statement by Peña Nieto follows similar ones this year by members of his administration. Two weeks ago Mexico's Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong claimed that organized crime homicides in July had fallen to their lowest level in several years since the new government took office. Mexico says drug war deaths are plummeting.

After he was sworn in president Peña Nieto announced plans to expand Mexico's Federal Police by 35,000, and to create an elite national gendarmerie of 40,000 paramilitary units modeled after Colombia's and those used in several European countries. The gendarmerie is expected to beef up security in rural areas which have been hard hit by narcotics trafficking and organized crime, and also to assist local police forces as they retrain and regroup.

The first 10,000 gendarmerie units, all of whom are being drawn from military service ranks, were expected to make their debut during national independence day festivities on Sept. 16, according to recent press accounts. But today Mexico's National Security Commissioner announced a delay. Only 1,710 cadets have been recruited and are in training, and the first contingent of 5,000 will not be ready until July 2014. They are being trained by Mexican and foreign instructors, including French ones.

The gendarmerie may find that one of its first assignments is in the security challenged four state region of Michoacán, Chiapas Guerrero and Oaxaca, where local police are either nonexistent or have been stripped of their duties by rapidly growing citizen self-protection units. Civilian militias soar, with autodefensas in 13 Mexican states.

Aug. 28 - La Gendarmería operará en un año más
Aug. 27 - Mexican press: PRI government is lying about drug war deaths - the real number is 13,775, in just eight months
July 24 - "¿Por qué deberíamos preocuparnos?"
Oct. 8, 2012 - Peña Nieto's Colombian drug war consultant is U.S. informant, Mexican journal claims
July 7, 2012 - Security consultant elaborates on "new" Mexican drug war strategy - but is it?.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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