Mexico outraged because of police corruption and kidnappings

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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis. You are free to disseminate this information, but we request that you credit NAFBPO as being the provider.

( Note: an initial review of Mexican media sites today revealed  the ever present, widespread and even growing accounts of blood, gore, beheadings, assaults and other criminal activities. In tune with that, the attachment to this report is an editorial section cartoon titled “Vast Reign of Terror” in today’s “El Universal”, a major Mexico City newspaper. It shows a map of Mexico on which there is a huge, overpowering and dominating fortress flying three flags: “narco”, “organized crime” and the skull & bones. From the depths, arising next to a puny Mexican flag, a cry arises: “Enough already!!”
In lieu of the usual recounting of assorted criminal activity and corruption, the following is a full translation of an article today in “El Diario de Coahuila” (Saltillo, Coahuila), titled “Mexico outraged because of police corruption and kidnappings.” We believe this article will give the reader an accurate picture of today’s climate of insecurity in Mexico )
* – After the kidnappers in police uniforms set up a false checkpoint on a street in Mexico City to catch 14 year old Fernando Marti his father paid a ransom of hundreds of thousands of dollars and awaited his son’s safe return.
(MEXICO(AP)) – It was in vain. The boy and his driver were found dead, each one in the trunk of a car. Days later, law enforcement officials said that a “judicial” policeman had a relevant participation in the kidnapping plot.
Suspicion about police participation in the kidnapping-murders has outraged the nation, where indifference by numerous residents tends to grow about the noon time shootings and  the beheadings between drug cartel members. Massive protests are being planned in various cities and some legislators are changing their minds about the rejection of the death penalty.
“They should blind them, that way they would not commit crimes any more. Prison is not the answer; they go to prison and form their own groups there inside, and they come out more powerful” said 26 year old college student Ignacio Noriega, and added that he no longer feels safe anywhere.
Thursday, police reported that 150 residents of a community on the western outskirts of Mexico City viciously beat two alleged thieves and threatened to lynch them. They finally turned them over to the police.
With no other option but to make efficient decisions, persons in authority at all levels signed an accord on Thursday to improve the struggle against crime in Mexico, with commitments and time limits which include the cleaning up and permanent training of police officers, new laws and more resources.
The Executive, Legislative and Judicial leaders accepted the National Security, Justice and Legality Accord, which sets time periods ranging from 30 days to three years to bring about 74 programs, and whose performance will be overseen by a citizens’ watch group.
At the signing of the accord in the nation’s capital, President Calderon said that “the traditional form of fighting insecurity has been insufficient” and he committed himself to sending legislative proposals about public security and kidnapping to the Congress. The legislature agreed to analyze them and approve them before 2008’s end.
Alejandro Marti, the father of Fernando Marti, present at the meeting, warned that Mexicans will be watching that the government keeps its promises.
He said “If they can’t, they ought to resign, but they shouldn’t stay in government positions, or receive a salary for doing nothing.”
Mexico has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnapping, according to the social group IKV Pax Christi, and the problem is getting worse. Kidnappings have increased 9.1% this year, averaging 65 per month in the entire country, says the (Mex.) Dep’t. of Justice, which holds responsible for this a growing web of cartels, police and ex-police officers and informants who single out potential lucrative victims.
And the official figures widely underestimate the problem. The majority of the kidnappings are not reported, for fear of the police.
After interviewing Mexicans about crimes that were not reported, the Citizens’ Study Institute on Insecurity determined that the real number of kidnappings is more than 500 per month. Eighty-six percent of those interviewed said that they have little or no confidence in local police. The poll results were released Wednesday.
Rich Mexicans have battled kidnappings for a long time, with costly security measures and private negotiators. But now even middle class families are in danger, and the kidnappers tend more and more to kill their captives, even if a ransom is paid. Barely a few days before Marti’s decomposed body was found on August 1st, six members of a family were found dead in a house in the western state of Jalisco, presumably victims of kidnappers aided by a police agent. Four of the victims, including two children, were shot  in the head. One adolescent had his throat cut. His mother was asphyxiated with a plastic bag.
One of the family’s sons had been kidnapped and then set free once the ransom was paid, but the gang   
 – presumably with the collaboration of a corrupt police agent from the state’s anti-kidnapping unit – decided that the family had much more money and threatened to keep kidnapping unless they were paid more. Investigators said the men killed the family after the police agent was identified.
The anger at the inability to trust Mexican police exploded last week, when residents of the central city of Tlapanala were able to surround and disarm a gang of seven kidnappers who had been posing as policemen.. They held them for 24 hours, beating them “with everything they could get hold of” until leaving them totally bloodied, said the mayor, Jose Villalba.
“”People are very furious… the truth is they wanted to beat me up also”, said Villalba. The mayor finally convinced the crowd to turn over the suspects – who carried false police credentials – to the state police.
Mexico officially opposes the death penalty, which it abandoned a long time ago, and considers that a life sentence is a cruel punishment. Just in 2005 Mexico agreed to extradite to the United States suspects who faced a life sentence in the United States. But this week, the small Green Party proposed to reinstitute the death penalty for police who participate in kidnappings and for kidnappers who kill their victims.
President Calderon has proposed life sentences for those crimes, now punishable with the maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment. The (Mex.) Dep’t. of Justice attributes the increase of the violence  to the diversification of organized crime in Mexico. It indicated in a report that “The criminals now engage in drug traffic, kidnapping and money laundering, among other activities, without a central control or management, nor any predominant organization among the crime areas or spheres.” It added, “Because of that, criminal activity became competitive, using violence with much more frequency among themselves and against society, to gain markets, territories or positions.”
Previously, anti-crime sentiment in Mexico has been shown to be a powerful force. More than a quarter million of Mexico City residents took part in a protest against assassinations and kidnappings in 2004, severely damaging the presidential aspirations of the then capital city mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
A similar protest has been called for on August 30. The Secretary of Government, Juan Camilo Mourino, deems worrisome that the growing outrage may lead to more acts of justice being carried out by private citizens.
He said “It’s obvious that society is outraged, it’s obvious that society is annoyed, and they have reason to be” “If we can’t agree to commitments and to channel those demands into clear and concrete steps, then the people could begin to take other types of actions which would not resolve the problem nor help anyone.”
– end of report –


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