Thursday 14 February 2013

Mexico’s interior minister expresses “solidarity, trust, and support” with self-defence groups

Osorio Chong
Mexico’s  interior minister, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, has acknowledged that the self-defence groups formed in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacán came about as a result of distrust in government authorities, and further expressed his “solidarity, trust, and support” with them.

“We have decided to form a dialogue with them,” said Osorio Chong. “It’s working [in Guerrero], so much so that the community has follow due process.”

Osorio Chong noted that communities who are charged with their own security will nonetheless have access to public prosecutors with the proper legal training. This is a significant development, as it suggests that the federal government sees itself as being in partnership with the communities against a common enemy – organized crime – as opposed to trying to re-assert government authority.

This echoes recent statements by Mexico’s recently-appointed Commissioner for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples (Comisionado Para el Diálogo con los Pueblos Indígenas), Jaime Martínez Veloz, who has acknowledged that  violence and crime present the greater risk to Mexican society, not civil defence groups.

For his part, Osorio Chong said that Mexico’s new National Gendarmerie will not replace the federal police, but that the two forces will complement each other.

“They will be different forces in different places,” he said. “The Gendarmerie...will be at the service of state and federal institutions, which must be protected.”

He further stated that all security and legal departments are working collaboratively, which is difficult to ascertain. What we do know is that of the 105,000 people detained in Mexico in the past six years, only 3,000 have been sentenced.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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