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Column 082613 Brewer

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mismatched Erratic Police Stratagems in Honduras and Mexico

By Jerry Brewer

Although other countries in the northern cone of Central America share much of the violence and misery inflicted upon them due to transnational organized crime, Honduras plus Mexico to the north have much more potential peremptory power to make a difference.

The critical perplexities of their establishing a strong foothold against these murdering modern day outlaws rests solely with a cohesive plan of action devoid of politics and conjecture. Albeit, that in itself is a modern day crisis.

What is clear is that both nations have military power and lack policing infrastructure. It is not hard to follow the dilemma that exists when you have only politics and military power.

Honduras is facing a new presidential election on November 24 to succeed outgoing President Porfirio Lobo Sosa.  Mexico elected President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on December 1, 2012. Both aggressively campaigned to end violence associated with crime.

President Lobo's administration sustained an increase in homicides in 2012 over 2011, making 2012 the most violent year on record. So far in Mexico, Peña Nieto's nine month tenure, omitting other deaths related to crime and violence, has had 244 public servants murdered during the first six months of 2013, and 100 police officers and members of the military.

In 2012 Lobo sustained an aggressive posture with the Supreme Court over police reform, as well as other political issues. This while the violence and deaths in Honduras, attributed to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, became emergency issues that have also resulted in protests by Honduran citizens.  Furthermore, an emergency decree that was in force since November 2011 that resulted in the military having extensive police powers has been extended.   

In Mexico, and contrary to his early campaign assertions, Peña Nieto cannot escape the need for military intervention. His military continues to lead the charge against the organized crime terror-like insurgents.  To this end, Mexico's Defence Ministry has apparently realized that Mexico's military is outgunned and has an urgent need to replace its arsenal with more modern weaponry. A request for $40 million over the next five years has been made to apparently meet a need to confront superior weapons being used against them by the criminal groups that have brazenly shown their violent propensities to attack them head-on or by ambush. 

Mexico has faced far too much criticism from international media, pundits, and international experts, as well as other reports ad nauseam, in the play by play of which group controls this territory or that, which area they will take and occupy next, and who has been replaced and in charge and leading the battle.

Collectively these armed criminal insurgents, in effect, have a common agenda of goals that include murder with impunity, crimes with barbaric violence, territorial control, corruption of police and government officials, and massive profits. What they cannot earn is simply taken, along with mass human life.

The question is, what strategy is needed to have an immediate impact?

When we talk of strategy we must not ignore the means of this transnational enemy that carries no flag of allegiance. As in true battles, their leaders will fall and be replaced and regroup to fight another day. What is more important than who they are linked to or not, is the weapons of power they possess to achieve superiority over legitimate authority.

What about their bombs?  Even Honduran President Lobo was not immune this month, when according to Fox News "a device tossed from a moving car exploded 100 meters" from his home around midnight.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) have been placed and detonated all over the northern cone of Central America, and in Mexico, by the criminal insurgents in attacks against government officials, police officers and innocents.  In Mexico, federal police in Ciudad Juarez and police officials in Nuevo Laredo are the most recent targets since these devices were initially reported to be used in 2010.

This writer has often written that "police" were never created, organized or deployed to face these superior war-like weapons and tactics being utilized against them. To those of us who have managed and led law enforcement organizations here in the US, especially in jurisdictions of escalated gang violence and near the border with Mexico, we rarely worried about a grenade being thrown at one of our patrol vehicles. South of our border, where actual "policing" is scarce these days, military weaponry in the hands of organized criminals is common place and escalating.

Honduras and Mexico are pivotal pillars of potential enforcement strategies that must be more than just an artifice that will not deceive this enemy. These enemies have solidified their presence and territories throughout the regions. They are in essence a de facto authority that has neutralized the rule of law and weakened governments.  Whatever these nations choose to deploy in defence of their homeland must be unwavering, swift, and decisive in order to save more lives.

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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 http://www.cjiausa.org/.


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