Jul 5, 2011

Whack-a-mole Drug War and Mexican Politics: Mexico's attorney general faces challenges in drug war

A look at Mexico´s attorney general, the first woman to hold the post, and the grave weaknesses of the justice department, the PGR, Procurador General de la Republica.

Mexico crime: Mexico's attorney general faces challenges in drug war - latimes.com: "Marisela Morales arrived as Mexico's first female attorney general with high marks for bravery.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Morales as one of this year's 'International Women of Courage,' lauding her as a fearless leader in the fight to bring to justice Mexico's most dangerous criminals.

But it will take more than courage if Morales is to succeed as attorney general, one of the most important figures in the government's war against violent drug-trafficking groups, which has killed nearly 40,000 people. Just three months into the job, her efforts have been undermined by the botched prosecution of a high-profile case, highlighting the challenge she faces in a judicial system racked by corruption, inefficiency and inertia....

Morales' supporters in Mexico describe a hands-on prosecutor, empathetic and straight as an arrow, and U.S. drug agents here long have talked glowingly of Morales. A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2009 described her ties with American officials as "excellent," in contrast with other Mexican officials who were criticized harshly in the cables and taken to task for failing to wage the drug war effectively. ...

The agency has had trouble making cases stick. Of 106,320 arrests in 2010 for federal crimes of all types, fewer than 30% resulted in formal charges, according to government figures obtained by the daily Excelsior newspaper this year. The remaining cases were tossed out by judges for lack of evidence....

Wilfrido Robledo, who quit as head of the PGR's investigative police after Morales took over, depicted deep weaknesses as he left. In a leaked report, Robledo, a navy admiral, complained of personnel cutbacks and sagging morale and lamented what he called a "lack of credibility in the institution" as organized crime grew stronger."

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