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Mexico: 40% of country is paralyzed by violence, says new chief of staff

Tuesday - 10/07/2018 16:05
Alfonso Romo, who’ll work under the new incoming president known as Amlo, says chronic insecurity has gripped the country
Alfonso Romo in Mexico City, Mexico, on 5 July 2018. Photograph: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters
Alfonso Romo in Mexico City, Mexico, on 5 July 2018. Photograph: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

As much as 40% of Mexican territory is prisoner to chronic insecurity and violence, the future chief of staff of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the incoming president, has claimed.

Alfonso Romo, a prominent entrepreneur who was part of the leftist’s watershed election triumph last week, made the assertion during a summit of business leaders on Monday in Mexico City. 

Veracruz is paralyzedTamaulipas, paralyzedMichoacán, paralyzedGuerrero, paralyzed,” Romo said, referring to four of the most notoriously violent states in a country that last year suffered a record 29,000 murders.

“I won’t go on, so I don’t scare you,” Romo added, according to the newspaper Unomásuno which splashed the widely-reported claim onto its front page under the bright red headline: “Paralyzed by Insecurity”. 

López Obrador, or Amlo as he is widely known, made cutting violence a key prong of his third presidential bid and his promise to “pacify” Mexico helped him secure more than 30 million votes.

Amlo has vowed to rethink Mexico’s devastating and highly militarized war on drugs – which experts blame for at least 200,000 deaths since 2006 – and be tough on the social causes of crime.

In interviews this week, Amlo’s future public security chief, Alfonso Durazo, said plans to reduce violence included raising police salaries, eradicating corruption, considering the decriminalisation of marijuana and an amnesty for low-level criminals, and placing a greater emphasis on crime prevention.

“The situation in which we find ourselves did not happen overnight … and as a result we aren’t going to resolve it overnight,” Durazo admitted. But by the end of Amlo’s six-year term, in 2024, Mexico would again be “a country of peace and tranquility”, he predicted.

Ioan Grillo, the author of a book on Mexico’s drug crisis called El Narco, said Amlo faced “a herculean task”. “But then again because it’s such a bad starting point, a little bit of improvement will go a long way.”

“Drug trafficking will continue. Kidnapping will continue. Stealing oil, extortion, product piracy, human smuggling … These things will continue. But if there is some reduction in the overall violence, or the most antisocial crimes, it will look OK,” Grillo added.

“If in his first year he has a reduction of murders – by 10% or 20% even – if instead of being 29,000 there are 24,000, then that will look OK.”

Source:

 Key: Mexico

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