Violent crime has become a problem of national security in Mexico, where half of the territory is outside of state control and “we’re in the hands of the narcos,” an intelligence expert and author of a new book on Mexico’s public safety woes, said.
Jorge Carrillo Olea, founder of Mexico’s leading intelligence center, said the “state has lost territorial control, and therefore governability,” over roughly 50 percent of the country.
The government has been incapable of fully enforcing the law and ensuring justice is upheld, said Carrillo, who spoke to Efe while in Mexico City to promote his new book, “Mexico en riesgo; una vision personal sobre un Estado a la defensive” (Mexico at Risk: A Personal Vision of a State on the Defensive), published this year by Grijalbo.
Carrillo, who in 1989 founded the Center for Research and National Security, or Cisen, a civil entity overseen by the interior ministry, said Mexico’s crime and public safety problems will last for decades because the society has “reached a point of no return.”
Governments also have undermined the nation’s sovereignty with their policies, ceding authority to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI–“who act like lords and owners in our country”–and even openly requesting assistance from the United States, he said.
“If policies are measured by their results, there haven’t been any positive results so far. Even though the authorities say they’ve decapitated the (criminal) organizations, these have multiplied and extended (their reach),” Carrillo, who also once served as governor of the central state of Morelos, said.
Only the formal structures have changed and President Felipe Calderon’s 2006-2012 administration will conclude with some 50,000 drug-related deaths, according to the expert, who worked closely with the previous administrations of Luis Echeverria, 1970-1976; Jose Lopez Portillo, 1976-1982; Miguel de la Madrid, 1982-1988; and Carlos Salinas, 1988-1994.
“We’ve passed the point of no return and no president,” regardless of party affiliation, can do much to solve the security woes, Carrillo said, adding that Calderon’s successor will have to have a “very serious, large team in place to analyze and tackle the problem.”
But “that won’t satisfy people,” the expert predicted. He therefore called for a grand national alliance that promotes long-term solutions, which he said must be in the hands of institutions, not individuals.