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Column 062512 Brewer

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mexico's Security Progress Hinges on Presidential Elections

By Jerry Brewer

Although it took a few years to deploy a fluid strategy of engagement and serious attempts at containment of an enemy inflicting massive violence and death on the Mexican homeland, President Felipe Calderon stayed the course under great peril to his presidency (December 1, 2006-November 30, 2012) and his administration. And soon, the future safety and welfare of the Mexican people will be left for the presidential election on July 1.

Much of Calderon's dilemma over his presidential term appeared to clearly be a lack of comprehensive understanding of the real threat posed, as well as a strategic, intense and acute focus on the most viable options for success.

Immediate and necessary security for the Mexican people under what appeared to be war-like conditions, graphically demonstrated the lack of associated infrastructure and institutions prepared and qualified to effectively respond to the massive carnage.

It was convenient for Mexico and the U.S. to view and label the initial sophisticated weaponry and strategies used by "drug cartels" in Mexico and along the U.S. border, beginning in 2005, as local fights between cartels for turf. And turf-like disputes throughout Mexico continue to this day, by a myriad of so-called cartels, splinter gangs and cellular-like independent criminals.

As conditions worsened Mexico and the U.S. came to the sobering conclusion that Mexico was facing and battling a new and deadly enemy on its soil, an enemy that was far better trained in paramilitary tactics and special guerrilla-style insurgency than virtually any local, county, and state law enforcement agency. Policing Mexico was simply not possible on a national level.

As many in Mexico, as well as some world pundits, began to label Mexico a "failed state" it was vehemently denied and defended, but President Calderon knew what was now at stake. It became clear within his actions and decisions that he became well-versed on the factual capabilities of this superior enemy that went far beyond what U.S. law enforcers could even imagine within their own homeland and jurisdictions. Plus, the U.S. was now more covertly engaged in training Mexican military and some federal police specialists, as well as deploying the necessary intelligence collection methodology in a myriad of human and electronic/scientific applications.

With what grew to be an enemy of transnational crime organization insurgents routinely traversing borders from Mexico into the northern cone countries of Central America, their armaments and capabilities graphically demonstrated their capabilities with ease to rival any state militia or tactical military unit within the neighboring nations.  Essentially, it was now clear that this entire region within this hemisphere could not effectively "police" this enemy. Yet, those without longer range vision called for non-military intervention and an end to "the drug war." This rationale was premised on the weak assumption that the "cartels" would simply stop their violence if left alone, or be driven out of their massively greedy revenue desires.

All but abandoning routine enforcement actions, the new Mexico and U.S. elite cadre of strategic and tactical operations began to net a myriad of hierarchal organized criminals that had amassed incredible fortunes utilizing their, and other, TCOs to wreak havoc and threaten and kill with impunity. Kidnappings, torture, extortion, robbery, and human and sex trafficking had expanded as never before. Nations in harm's way were setting world murder records.

With a new battle plan and capable support and mentorship by the U.S. government, President Calderon boldly announced, "Under no circumstances will our government weaken its policy on democratic security."

Often, when it comes to formulating viable solutions to complex problems, cynicism raises its ugly head. Unfortunately, the symbolism of opinion in lieu of intestinal fortitude does nothing to protect and secure a homeland.  This was deeply inherent in much of the criticism of the deployment of the Mexican military to be the lead enforcers in the intense conflict against the murderous barbarians that were now killing scores of innocents and journalists, with the use of high-powered weapons and explosives.

Grasping the reality of the war-like carnage that has gripped Mexico for nearly a decade, it must be noted that the organized crime and gang actions have now carried over into Central America. Although some governing leaders there still waffle between opinion on drug legalization and similar thoughts, most are welcoming U.S. trainers, advisors and assistance, and seeing proactive tactical results and apprehensions like never before in their histories. This much to the chagrin of corrupted officials.

The U.S. had much forewarning of this impending U.S. border onslaught from as early as 2004, as obscurely written reports detailed a rising number of assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson-Nogales border sector. Since October 1, 2004, over 200 assaults on U.S. agents, including a high number of shootings, have been recorded.  Moreover, reportedly the drug lords and crime bosses put up a US$50,000 bounty on U.S. Border Patrol agents, as well as state and local police officers, for a time.

Hopefully the elephant hiding under a leaf has been found, and the Mexican presidential elections will not disrupt painful gains and progress, and ambitious priorities.


Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at

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