Militarization and Security in the Spirit of the Times

Militarization in Mexico was a consequence of a dialogue around security that was promoted by business elites, their newspaper and the partisan right. Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his then Secretary of Public Security Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón contributed to it — and that should not be forgotten.

In 2004, there was a march “for the rescue of Mexico,” promoted by the Business Coordinating Council and organizations dedicated to the fight against kidnapping. One of its main targets, López Obrador, dismissed the march. AMLO called it a march of the elites, a class-based cause that demanded immediate strategies for security during a relatively peaceful period for the country. The first big media hype after that was the Safe Mexico Agreement announced by Vicente Fox in 2005.

Contrary to the numbers and a statement by the presidential spokesperson, the threat of a security crisis was promoted by the opposition; by the U.S. Embassy, represented by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza; and by civil organizations close to the business elite. “We will not allow Mexico to become Colombia,” proclaimed business leaders to the National Action Party federal government. They requested the full force of the government — more than legal reform.

They naively expected that the operations would “wipe out the drug gangs,” but instead got only “parades” and “checkpoints.” Bullets and extermination were still not provided in the quantity they expected. And, from then on, the death count never left the pages of the newspapers. In the 2006 campaign, a militaristic tone appeared on both sides, influenced by pressures that also served the opposition in disqualifying Fox. The confluence of events had a history, rather than necessarily being the idea of the leader who stepped down in 2005.

Rudy Giuliani, the most successful promoter of the world’s most conservative discourse on security, was sponsored by López Obrador, following encouragement by the current Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Luis Ebrard.

Former New York Mayor Giuliani debuted as a consultant in Mexico City. It was there where Giuliani, promoted by Ebrard, Carlos Slim and a group of businessmen headed by Moises Saba, signed a contract for $4.5 million to evaluate and prepare a proposal for an anti-crime policy. Giuliani was famous because as mayor, he quickly reduced the rate of crime in the city.

The proposal was not a concrete success. It resulted only in recommendations — such as repressing the informal economy, street vending and prostitution — that were supported by the media whose prejudices were in line with the proposals. The Civic Culture Law is perhaps the only remaining trace of any significance.

Giuliani’s rhetoric and that of his police chief (a consultant before Giuliani), the Civic Culture Law and, currently, López Obrador, all extol good behavior.

Negotiations aimed at reducing conflict are not important. The important thing is good behavior. Criminals can behave well on election days, as well as those living in the ghetto.

It was William Bratton, the aforementioned police chief, who once stated that behaviors requiring “policing” were the cause of crime, rather than social issues.

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About Patricia Simoni 180 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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