Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Questions Keep Coming In

The responses to my silly rant have been very positive.   The problem is that the effect of the policies forwarded by this administration would be, will be a disaster for this Republic as we know it.   There is little humour in that fact.

     There have been some questions concerning President Calderon's initiative to essentially "Nacionalizar" (nationalize) the local and State level police.   Without mincing words, I will tell you that, with few reservations, it is a policy that is needed.   The ill is far outweighed by the good.
      My inclination, as an old Confederate, is to maintain local control....if anything the extreme.    Little good can come of ordering society from some distant castle, far removed from the plague or flood or blight or riot.   Those who know best are most frequently found nearby, was a favourite saying of my parents
      The problem in Mexico is that the local police in thousands and thousands of municipios (counties), small ciudades (cities), delegaciones (subdivisions of municipios) and even Zonas Metropolitanas (metropolitan zones) and estados (States) are frequently working in very weak command and control structures...They are also exposed to very strong temptations, due to the fact that they frequently earn between 350 and 750 dollars per month.    Even with a fairly generous secondary benefit schedule...medical, small retirement, the job frequently presents more to lose than to gain.
     One of the main threats for anyone out in the hinterland is the fabled offer of the organized crime group which offers the policeman or public official the choice of "Plomo o plata", (lead or silver).  And the other famous tactic of making veiled or direct threat against a family member can be equally effective.
      It has been demonstrated that, while not perfect, the Mexican Army, the Mexican Naval Infantry, and the newly constituted uniformed national civilian police have performed between well-enough and stunningly effectively.   The military part of this formula has really been remarkable.   Self-cleansing, self-improving, self-reliant, self-disciplined, and obedient to civilian authority are all accurate terms to described the military units, now numbering 160,000 under arms and at the "front".     This does not count the "on the water" Navy which has also professionalized by quantum measure in the past 10 years.     Other military personnel not actively engaged in combat or neo-combat situations now number in the range of around 230,000 more uniformed effectives.
       These folks are dedicated to combat and combat support, they know, use, and understand cyber-combat application as well as cyber-warfare.   They have good basic and advanced education.   The federal police units make in the neighbourhood of 16,000 dollars/year along with a benefit package of about the same amount at the low end....while the military receives somewhat less at the lower ranks, but still far from subsistence.

     It appears to this observer that the processes, legal and military and constabularial, seem to function better if the recruits are gathered up from the provinces, trained well, and deployed under a single chain/level of command.   When there is a problem or a corruption issue, it is immensely more easily detected.   It is also immensely more easily guarded against by the establishment of procedures, active and passive observation and monitoring, and the building of an esprit de corps that frequently replaces temptation and avarice.     Many observers said that the possibility of  such a development in Colombia was  "impossible"  or "ridiculous", or "preposterous"....but it turned out to be very possible.

     Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to comment about the economic situation in Mexico....perhaps some surprizing observations.

Thanks for your time and attention,
El Gringo Viejo