Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Deadly politics

Is Mexico the most dangerous place in which to be elected? There is more than one explanation, but no good answer.

Death and the mayor
POLITICS is a risky business in Mexico… on January 2nd Gisela Mota,
Gisela Mota
mayor of Temixco, about 85km (53 miles) south of Mexico City, was killed in her home by several assassins just one day after her inauguration.

It is fairly clear who killed Ms Mota, but not why. The suspects are thought to have links to Los Rojos, a drug gang… Ms Mota, a former congresswoman from the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution, had vowed to fight drug trafficking…

Graco Ramírez, the governor of Morelos, the state to which Temixco belongs, offers a different theory. He thinks Ms Mota was killed because she supported the state’s takeover of local policing, a policy known as mando único (single command). Mexico has 2,000 local police forces, in addition to state and federal constabularies. Many of them are short of funds and badly managed. Some, and the mayors who run them, are in league with the criminals.

The state takeover of local policing was the big crime-fighting idea that Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, came up with…

Advocates of mando único claim that states can modernise police forces, co-ordinate them better and give them more money. Mayors will face less risk if they are not directly involved in police work. And the corrupt ones will have less opportunity to subvert it…

Critics of the policy say there is no proof that it modernises policing. Forces under state command are not immune to corruption…

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