Can Mexico Teach the US A Lesson?

6 Jul

Presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) talks with his daughter Regina as he awaits the election results on July 2, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. Results of an official preliminary count later indicated that Mexico's presidential election front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto holds a substantial lead over Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico appears to be experiencing its own Kennedy-esque optimism. A young president with an ambitious agenda is on the job. Mexico can now criticize the United States for what the Clinton administration admonished Mexico during an earlier version of the financial crisis in the 1990s.

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Oh, dear – revisiting NAFTA?

At least, the new Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto is promising to end drug violence, and wagging a finger at us.

Indeed, I’ve proposed initiatives that will result in a marked increase in security spending and have set as a public goal slashing violent crime significantly.

What must be improved is coordination among federal, state and municipal crime-fighting authorities. I will create a 40,000-person National Gendarmerie, a police force similar to those in countries like Colombia, Italy and France, to focus on the most violent rural areas. I will expand the federal police by at least 35,000 officers and bolster intelligence-gathering and analysis. I will consolidate the state and municipal police forces and provide greater federal oversight, to crack down on corruption within their ranks. I will propose comprehensive criminal law reform. I have already sought out the advice of Gen. Óscar Naranjo, who recently retired as Colombia’s national police chief and is one of the world’s top crime fighters.

But for these security measures to have a long-term impact, the international community must understand two things. First, these efforts must be married with strong economic and social reforms. You can’t have security without stability. Second, other nations, particularly the United States, must do more to curtail demand for drugs.

I hope our neighbors will join us not only in confronting crime and drugs, but also on many other issues of mutual concern. We should build on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 1994, as an engine of growth by further integrating our economies through greater investments in manufacturing, finance, infrastructure and energy.

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