Mar 6, 2012

Drug War: Mexican business association calls the security situation of the past six years “Regrettable”

The Mexican business community has been largely absent from policy discussions about the drug war and its consequences for the country. Here, the new president of the Mexican Business Association speaks out. Translation by Mikael Rojas, Americas Program intern

La Jornada: "A leader of the business community criticized the environment of insecurity in Mexico over the last six years as “regrettable” and called for a “better strategy” to combat organized crime that will guarantee Mexican citizens peace and tranquility as soon as possible.

In his first press conference as president of the Mexican Business Confederation (Coparmex), Alberto Espinosa Desigaud said that due to the climbing violence, businesspeople have been exposed to robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and murder. “It is fundamentally a matter of government policy, and not just at the federal level,” he added.

“If we only rely on the actions of the federal government to generate better results, then we are really on the wrong path,” remarked the Coparmex head who was elected on February 29th, replacing Gerardo Gutiérrez Candiani.

Espinosa Desiguad blamed state and municipal governments for not correctly adjusting their budgets to address security issues. He said, “If the cities and towns, where these unfortunate occurrences principally take place, were making better use of their resources, being better prepared, adding more police, and had more trustworthy agencies, the results would be different.”

The businessman insisted on the necessity of rooting corruption out of police forces. “Today, the police in several states and towns are complicit; it’s clear that we have been operating like this for many years. We ask that there be less corruption in the police and a greater sense of responsibility on behalf of the authorities to take action to prevent complicity with criminal activities.”

Espinosa Desiguad acknowledged the pressures that municipal government officials are exposed to when it comes to confronting organized crime, but reaffirmed that they cannot continue to put aside what needs to be done. He also maintained that municipal level politicians need to do a better job of protecting themselves, along with the state and federal governments.

Espinosa Desigaud also stated that the global economic turndown has had an impact on the levels of violence in Mexico. He claimed that if national economic growth were at 6 percent annually, and the required number of jobs were generated, that the bloodshed could decrease.

Regarding the agenda that the business group will pursue following his swearing-in as president, Espinosa said that Coparmex will concentrate on promoting a quality education system for all Mexicans, supporting citizen participation in democratic processes, developing proposals to strengthen public security, and starting an action program to stimulate the economy.

Finally, Espinosa Desiguad announced that all of the partners of the organization will take to the streets all around the country in order to promote informed voting, to help oversee the electoral process, and to demand that politicians comply with their promises.

However, he emphasized that Coparmex is a non-partisan organization and will not endorse any single candidate or party, adding “we will be very quick to question all of the candidates about their concrete proposals for achieving the great changes that our country requires.” Spanish original

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