jueves, 21 de marzo de 2013

Mexican leader sees results of anti-crime strategy in a year

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto said in Rome on 20 March that a year was needed before Mexicans could see the incipient results of his government's anti-crime strategy, even as reports indicated crime-related deaths remained high since he took over in December 2012. A "balance" could be made in a year, he said speaking at the Mexican embassy, and "favourable results, a palpable reduction" in violence and murders expected, though he added this did not mean an end to violence that has killed some 70,000 since 2006, when the previous government began to wage war on drug cartels. Peña Nieto said his government's security plan included the entire national territory while considering its regional variations, Europa Press reported, citing the Mexican daily El Universal. The Peña government's anti-crime plan includes dividing Mexico into five security regions, and consultations between state governors and the armed forces, currently involved in fighting crime, El Universal has reported. A recent Mexican interior ministry report indicated that average monthly deaths from criminal incidents were equivalent to those of 2009, three years into the war begun by the then president, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Proceso reported on 14 March. Calderón was much criticized for "militarizing" law enforcement and often blamed for the thousands of deaths his government's policy was said to have provoked directly and indirectly. Yet the interior ministry recently reported that the average monthly homicides rate in the first three months of the Peña government stood at 1,052, compared to 879 for the first year of the Calderón presidency. It was not immediately clear if the comparison was with a similar three-month period or a year. A ministry report issued on 8 March counted 3,157 victims of homicides from December 2012 to, presumably, the end of February 2013. As reports indicate murder rates differ across the country, and violence shifts from one zone to another in response to policing. The Public Security chief for the south-western state of Oaxaca declared on 20 March for example that reported homicides in Oaxaca fell 29 per cent from March 2012 to March 2013, and kidnappings 30 per cent. Marco Tulio López Escamilla said Oaxaca had become one of the country's safer states, in spite of sitting between two particularly crime-ridden states, Guerrero and Veracruz, Milenio reported. Likewise the head of the US Northern Command, General Charles Jacoby, was reported as telling the House Armed Services Committee that drug violence had fallen in northern Mexico and shifted toward the country's interior states, Proceso reported on 20 March.

Over 30 killed, found dead around Mexico

"At least 19" were reported to have died or been found dead in apparent criminal incidents around Mexico on 19 March, including 10 suspected gangsters shot dead by police in a gun fight in Estado de México in central Mexico. Federal and state police shot dead 10 or perhaps more members of the cartel La Familia Michoacana in a gun battle that day in the district of Otzoloapan. In the northern state of Chihuahua however suspected gangsters killed two federal policemen after shooting at a patrol car, Proceso reported. Victims that day also included a federal policeman shot dead in the northern district of Monclova, and two gunmen and a soldier killed in a gun fight in the district of Apatzingán in Michoacán. On 20 March police and troops shot dead three suspected criminals, responding to gunfire in the east-coast district of Actopan in the state of Veracruz, Proceso reported. These were among at least 11 reported killed or found dead on 20 March for violence around the country, Proceso reported. A policeman was additionally shot dead that day on a road between the north-eastern cities of Victoria and Monterrey, apparently by gunmen who drove past after he stopped another car for speeding, Milenio reported. The daily also reported the provisional detention of all municipal policemen in the districts of Córdoba and Fortín de las Flores in the state of Veracruz, as part of the extraordinary and ongoing security operations dubbed Veracruz Seguro. These would have to sit "confidence" tests used elsewhere in Mexico to assure the personal and professional integrity of policemen; many policemen fail these tests. The governor of Veracruz Javier Duarte de Ochoa said naval and state police were provisionally assuring the security of the two districts, Milenio reported.