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Brainstorming on Approaches to the Security Problem

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 09 November, 2010

(Acapulco, NA 9 November) The atmosphere was serious and tense in Acapulco’s Convention Center yesterday, when for three hours public officials, community leaders and concerned citizens discussed the problem of public security in an event called “Dialogues for the Security in the State.” The moderator was Ángel Corona Rodríguez, president of a group called the Committee for Consultation and Participation by the Community in Public Safety. He explained that the forum was created to spawn a discussion at all levels of society on the lack of public safety. The group’s intention is to follow up on President Calderón’s call for a public debate of security issues.

The president of the Mexican Employers Confederation (Copamex), Fernando Vargas Lozano, called on those present to create a social compact between the civilian society and the government to combat the lack of safety and security, employing concrete measures to attack the problem at its roots, bringing an end to corruption and impunity and opening the way for the promotion of cultural values and the rule of law.

The secretary of the Citizen’s Observatory of Public Safety in Guerrero, Efrén Marmolejo Vega, asserted that the intervention of the Mexican army in the fight against drug trafficking should have been a measure of last resort, and that first the government needed to understand fully the phenomenon of organized criminal organizations. The rector of a local private university, Mario Mendoza Castañeda, made a proposal concerning crime prevention, arguing that the first measures taken by the present administration must be multiplied and reinforced by the underlying socioeconomic conditions. Cástulo Garcia Sánchez, president of the Guerrero Interfaith Council, said that the problem stemmed from a “broken society,” proposing, among other things, a department of social work for reconstructing values, especially within the various police departments.

Guerrero’s governor, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo was in attendance. He admitted that in Guerrero it has taken a lot of time to change the structure and mentality of the public safety forces, and he reported that a movement is underway to consider the feasibility of one unified police force for the state. The Governor said that public safety is everyone’s responsibility and requires a continuous and permanent effort. “I assume my responsibility,” he said, “whether it be at the municipal, state or federal levels. My government is working towards it.”

The representative of the journalism community, Marco Antonio Aguileta, agreed that the problem arises from a “social decomposition” that originates from within the family, to the extent that people now view the commission of serious crime as “normal.” He said that in 2008 around 150,000 youths between 12 and 17 tried to take their own lives, and more than 25,000 required medical attention, while 1.4 million reported having thoughts about self destruction, and in 2009, 350,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 29 made attempts on their own lives. Victor Ruiz, the psychiatrist of the Autonomous Metropolitan University, interjected that there is an increasingly strong connection between juvenile suicides and the violence generated by drug runners and those commanded by organized crime. For that reason, all efforts should be undertaken to implement preventive measures and to use the media to spread the word about them. Karla Garibo Muñúzuri, of the Grupo ACA, suggested that more opportunities for youth should be created, as well as a citizens’ manual so that parents can identify signs of drug use and take steps towards rehabilitation and cure.

Miguel García Maldonado, representing the Bar Council of Guerrero, pointed out that legislation is pending to fight “money laundering and financial terrorism,” and that the same should be implemented immediately.
Several other representatives of civic groups and private citizens added suggestions, mainly centered around educational programs, economic opportunity, the re-establishment of family values and the separation of law enforcement from politics. The president of the College of Criminal Defense Attorneys in Guerrero called for modernization of the police forces and a general purge of officers who are associated with the delinquents. He alleged that almost half of the police are connected to organized crime in some way.

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