Local Mexican law enforcement agencies must combat drug traffickers by avoiding corruption and receiving proper training to provide a network of safety to citizens, said Mexico’s security spokesman Monday.
Alejandro Poiré, secretary of the Mexico’s National Security Council, discussed the country’s national public safety strategy to an audience of about 60 people at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He said Mexico’s federal government needs the state and local authorities to move more quickly to confront drug cartels.
“These originally traditional cartels became very, very, very powerful organizations and structures that had a lot of money and lot of guns and great organizational capacity that really challenged the state institutions at the local level,” Poiré said.
Plataforma Mexico, a project to coordinate and integrate information about crime and public security, is one way the Mexican government is combating violence. Poiré said the database can hold up to 400 million public safety records to coordinate between the federal, state and city levels.
Poiré said Mexico is also focusing on social development by providing more drug rehabilitation services, as well as making safe school programs and more social workers available to children with a family history of drug-related violence.
Poiré said the problems were originally caused by the demand of drugs in the United States, and the problem worsened when cartels gained access to guns from across the border.
“We have to recognize that this is not just Mexico’s problem,” Poiré said.
Public affairs professor Peter Ward said it was important for Poiré to not focus on the death toll and violence in Mexico but what the administration what was doing about it.
“Whichever party is in power for the next six years, whoever the president is, it’s going to be crucial to see the structural changes continue into the future,” Ward said. “I was very struck [by the] very dramatic improvements from the previous administration and the [current President Felipe] Calderón administration.”
Public affairs graduate student Raul Torres has not visited his hometown of Chihuahua, Mexico, since 2005 because of the drug cartel related violence. He said his family members who still live in Chihuahua are in denial about the violence. He said his family members still have to work and go to school, but they are sure to be home by 9 p.m.
“My take is [Poiré] boasted what his political party in Mexico is doing and maybe play[ed] down what is still lacking,” Torres said.