lunes, 13 de abril de 2009

What Mexico Really Needs from Obama (Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2009)

President Obama should not focus exclusively on short-term military goals during his visit to Mexico this week. The violence there, which has taken the lives of 10,000 Mexicans over the last two years, must be stopped. But the helicopters, weapons scanners and listening devices that have been the cornerstone of promised U.S. support will only go so far. The real solution lies in effective institution-building.

It does no good to capture drug kingpins if they don't go to jail. During 2008, only one out of every 10 suspects arrested in Mexico for drug offenses was convicted, according to official statistics. In Chihuahua, one of the bloodiest states in the country, only 1,621 out of the 5,674 suspects arrested over the last 12 months have even had to stand trial, because of the weakness of the prosecutors' cases.


During a recent interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," Obama made an unfortunate comparison between Calderon and Eliot Ness. Just as Ness eventually failed to defeat the Chicago Mafia during Prohibition in the 1920s and '30s, Mexico's problems will not be solved by placing high-powered weapons into the hands of a group of supposedly "untouchable" elite police officers. The United States needs to think of more creative ways to help build lasting peace and stability south of the Rio Grande.

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