Presume Calderón su política anticrimen en Ciudad Juárez
En una publicación de la Universidad de Harvard, el ex presidente aseguró que Ciudad Juárez es ahora "lugar de progreso" y que durante su gobierno escuchó a la gente de esa región y trabajó con ella.
Calderón presume estrategia anticrimen en Cd Juárez
El ex presidente Felipe Calderón aseguró que durante su visita a Ciudad Juárez (der.) es ahora un lugar de progreso (Fotos: Cuartoscuro)

El ex presidente Felipe Calderón destacó la política anticrimen que aplicó durante su gobierno en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, y aseguró que en esa región no sólo se escuchó a la gente sino que se trabajó con ella, publica el diario El Universal.

En su cuenta de Twitter, Calderón difundió una de sus primeras colaboraciones en la Universidad de Harvard, editada por el Latin America Policy Journal, una publicación sobre política latinoamericana de la institución, y que lleva por título “Todos Somos Juárez: An Innovative Strategy to Tackle Violence and Crime” (Todos somos Juárez: Una innovadora estrategia para atajar la violencia y el crimen).

 

En dicho artículo, escrito en inglés, el ex mandatario afirmó que Ciudad Juárez es ahora un “lugar de progreso” y que cuando visitó la localidad de Villas de Salvárcar en febrero de 2012, ésta estaba transformada. Ahí, dos años antes fueron masacrados 17 jóvenes durante una fiesta, a quienes Calderón acusó de ser criminales.

Con base en datos de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, el ex presidente explicó en su artículo que con el programa de enfoque social durante su gobierno se redujeron la violencia, los crímenes y las extorsiones.

Agregó que para restaurar el orden y el tejido social en esta zona del país eran necesarias políticas públicas innovadoras, y defendió que el envío del Ejército y la Policía Federal generó una reducción en la violencia y el crimen.

Este es el artículo completo del ex presidente Calderón:

Todos Somos Juarez: An Innovative Strategy to Tackle Violence and Crime

by Felipe Calderón

In the last few years, Mexico has been living a very complex public security situation. For decades, criminal organizations were allowed to grow and gain strength, which seriously affected the lives of ordinary citizens in towns and cities across Mexico. But in few parts of the country had the situation reached such dramatic levels as in Ciudad Juárez. Crime and violence here grew systematically, due to three main factors:

First, the expansion of criminal organizations as they diversified their main line of business from exporting illegal drugs to the U.S. to retail sales of drugs in Mexico. In Ciudad Juárez, two large cartels started a violent fight for control of the city, as it repre- sents both a strategic entry point to the U.S. and a profitable drug market. These organi- zations also moved into new criminal activities like robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.

Second, the weakness of local law enforcement agencies. Criminal groups aimed to control state and municipal police corps, first by corruption and then by threats. Having to decide between being on the cartels’ payroll or being dead, and with no support from their superiors, local police officers were no longer protecting the people from crime.

Third, a serious weakening of the social fabric. Free trade created a strong expansion of the export manufacturing sector in Mexico. People from all over the country migrated to industrial border cities like Ciudad Juarez, seeking better job opportunities. The city’s population grew by a factor of 2.3 between 1980 and 2010. While the newcomers often found better-paid jobs, they settled in areas that lacked basic services like water, electricity, sewage, and paved streets. These neighborhoods also lacked adequate health, educational and recreational infrastructure for young people. This, combined with problems such as low social cohesion, contributed to the spread of drug abuse as well as violence and gang involvement among vulnerable youth. Years before the peak of drug-related violence, Ciudad Juárez already had a serious social crisis, which had as its most tragic impact the unsolved, violent murders of dozens of women back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It was clear that this situation was not sustainable. Innovative public policies were needed to restore order and the social fabric. That is why my administration launched a strategy to rescue Ciudad Juárez, with three main elements:

One, we sent in the Army and then the Federal Police to restore law and order and protect the people. This, along with the other components of the strategy, has led to a reduction in violence and crime.

Two, the federal government is support- ing state and municipal authorities to rebuild their law enforcement institu- tions, since they are constitutionally responsible for the safety of their citizens. Indeed federal agencies only support the states in emergencies.

Three, we launched an ambitious program to rebuild the social fabric, and we called it “Todos Somos Juárez” (TSJ) or “We are all Juárez”. This program aims to solve the social roots of insecurity, and has three main characteristics: commu- nity participation, a holistic, comprehen- sive approach, and coordination and co-responsibility within the three levels of government (federal, state, and munici- pal). Community leaders participated in the design, implementation, and supervi- sion of the program. They included in the strategy a comprehensive range of policy areas, such as public security, economic development, employment, education, health, and social development. For each of these areas, a civic council was created.

All included representatives from the community and the three levels of government to ensure proper coordina- tion and permanent community participation.

After an intense process of discussion among the three levels of government and civil society, a set of policy interventions were designed to address not only the effects but also the causes of violence and crime. This turned into 160 specific policy actions at first, with an unprecedented federal investment in the city of $263 million in 2010. In 2011, the councils agreed on 118 additional actions with a federal investment of $138 million. Some 74 percent of this budget was targeted to social investment in health, education, culture, sports and recreation.

TSJ has achieved some remarkable results, including:

  • Education, culture, and sports. More than a thousand schools were included in the “Safe Schools” program, which promotes safe environments through addiction- and violence-prevention plans. Seventy-one schools in poor urban areas extended their school hours, which allow students to improve their education. For instance, the Tarahumara
  • Distance Learning Junior High –built in a marginalized, indigenous neighbor- hood– is included in both the safe schools and in the extended school hour programs. The number of scholarships also increased dramatically, and school infrastructure was enhanced, especially in previously neglected parts of the city. For example, 14,552 new scholarships were given to high school and college students; and the basic infrastructure of 205 schools was improved. Additionally, five new high schools and one college were built, and four new buildings in three colleges were completed to increase the capacity of the public education system in marginalized neighborhoods. For example, a new campus of the Technical University of Ciudad Juárez was built in the Anapra neighborhood, a particularly neglected area that even lacked public transporta- tion. For young people living there, attending college was very difficult, as they had to travel long distances. Now, this new campus allows 900 young people to pursue a college degree in their own community.
  • Health. Universal health coverage was achieved through an effort of massive affiliation to the Seguro Popular, the federal government’s free medical insurance program. Four major health care facilities were built and one remod- eled, and programs to prevent and treat drug addictions were given a significant boost. And, in order to meet the demand for children’s healthcare, we improved the facilities and optimized the operation of the Ciudad Juárez Children’s Hospital.
  • Social development. Nineteen public spaces located in poor urban areas, including sports facilities, parks and community centers were rescued or improved. The impact of this social investment can be exemplified with the case of Alan, a 9 year old boy I met the last time I visited Ciudad Juarez. Alan used to spend his time on the streets of the Felipe Angeles neighborhood, where he was at risk of getting involved in gangs or becoming a victim of violence and drugs. We built a Community Center there, and now Alan –together with other children from this once neglected area– spends his free time in a safe place, where he has the opportunity of playing sports and participating with other children in recreational activities.
  • We also tackled poverty, by doubling the number of families covered by the federal antipoverty program Oportunidades –which gives condi- tional cash grants to low-income families who enroll their children in school and take them for regular medical check-ups. Oportunidades now covers 21,808 households in the city. And the subsidized daycare network grew significantly from 60 to 105 centers, which now benefits 3,700 children.
  • Economic development and employment. Public soft loans were granted to 1,379 small and medium-sized businesses, which allowed the preservation of 18,073 jobs. Additionally, 10,240 job seekers have received training scholarships, and 25,872 people participated in soft skills workshops.
  • Security. To increase law enforcement capabilities, almost 5,000 Federal Police officers were deployed to Ciudad Juarez: 4,500 for patrolling duties and 500 for the investigation, intelligence, and anti-drug divisions. Particular attention was given to strengthen efforts against kidnapping and extortion, which are the major concerns for the citizens of Ciudad Juarez.

The combined effect of these actions has been a tangible reduction in crime. In January 2010, violence was widespread, and 216 homicides were reported in the city that month. Since October 2010, the murder rate has shown a significant decrease. In January 2012, the reported murders went down to 84 a month, a 71% decrease from the peak. Kidnapping and extortion also decreased dramatically.

In February 2012, I visited the new Sports Center in Villas de Salvarcar, a neighbor- hood that has suffered terrible incidents of gang violence. There, I had the chance to witness how this community has been deeply transformed: kids are now organized, not in gangs, but in soccer and baseball leagues. They have now a community library, where I read a tale to some little children. The most important thing is that the people of Villas de Salvarcar have successfully reclaimed their public spaces. This is perhaps the most vivid example of the thorough transfor- mation that Ciudad Juárez has gone through.

In sum, Todos Somos Juárez has given us four useful lessons:

  1. The problem of crime and violence has many causes. Therefore, a holistic public policy approach is necessary, one that tackles not only law enforcement challenges, but also the economic, educational, labor, and health short- comings that have an effect on the security situation.
  2. Community participation is key for public policy to be effective. Community members need to have a prominent role for any anti-crime program to be successful. In the case of Ciudad Juarez, the community was well organized and was willing to partici- pate in the reconstruction of their city. However, in areas where this social asset is not present, one might start by strengthening grassroots organizations. Another important fact that should be taken into account is that young people are particularly vulnerable to crime and violence, so they must be included as key players to identify their own challenges and develop innovative solutions.
  3. Coordination among authorities is crucial. Mexico’s federal regime is an intricate set of rules and institutions that gives federal, state and municipal authorities specific responsibilities. Aligning the efforts of these authorities in a democratic context has been a challenge for Mexico, but TSJ demon- strates that coordination is a must if the country is to succeed in its battle against insecurity.
  4. Better results are obtained by targeting efforts. TSJ is an example of a well targeted program, as it has concen- trated its resources in those areas of the city that demanded priority attention. These areas had been neglected for years, thus becoming vulnerable to crime and violence.

Despite all its problems, Ciudad Juárez is a place of progress. It is among the top 10 cities in Mexico in terms of Foreign Direct Investment and among the top 15 in competitiveness. It is home to one of the most technologically advanced industrial bases in the country, specialized in key areas such as electronics, IT, and automotive. It was crucial to act decisively and help the people of Juarez to solve the insecurity situation. We have achieved positive results, because we not only listened to the people of Juárez, but also got them onboard to solve this problem with us. There is still a lot to do, but we can now say with confidence that Juárez is slowly getting back on track.

Other cities in the region have also undergone processes similar to that in Ciudad Juárez. It is important to share experiences in order to find out what has worked and what has not. Crime is not a local or national problem. Crime and violence are transnational threats that require a coordinated international response. Each nation has to assume its responsibility. Mexico is doing its part, but similar efforts are required in other parts of the continent. In particular, it is essential that nations with a high demand for drugs make an effort to reduce it, as this is what gives criminal organizations their financial power. If this is not possible, alternative solutions, including market solutions, must be discussed in order to weaken their financial power. It is also important to curb money laundering and stop the sale of assault weapons to criminal organizations. Only by tackling these issues head on, will we be able to build a safer Hemisphere. In the mean- time, Mexico will continue its struggle to ensure public security and the rule of law by implementing integral policy solutions like “Todos Somos Juárez”.

ENDNOTES

1 Mexican Ministry of Social Development, 2012.

2 Mexican Ministry of Health, 2012.

3 Mexican Ministry of Social Development, 2012.

4 Mexican Ministry of Economy, 2012.

5 Mexican Ministry of Labor, 2012.

6 Mexican Ministry of Public Security, 2012.





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