Analysis Agenda. July 29th, 2013

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Mexicans’ sense of awe is regularly put to the test. People remember less and less how they were horrified every time the media’s “execut-ometers” exposed the terrible violence conditions throughout the country. Nowadays, the situation has not been corrected, but ever since the general population is no longer bombed with murder figures nor trenchant (and on many occasions, legitimate) criticism to the previous federal administration, Mexico pretends to imagine an artificial calmness. Sometimes, the country seems to be more at risk for a soccer team’s bad results rather than the rise of murder rates, human trafficking, impunity and degradation of social fabric. What does society require to truly turn on the warning signs and stop criminals, corrupt authorities as well as its own vices that encourage hypocrisy from the public vituperation to practices tolerated in the private sphere?

1- Michoacán, the Mexican Afghanistan: As days go by, not even the federal government’s strategy to die down the broadcast of violent events throughout the country, has been able to stop the situation within Michoacán. Despite that the so-called “Hot Land” has been a traditionally difficult zone to control for authorities (it’s still a paradox that this was the same place where the first Mexican Constitution was created), the security crisis seems to be less exclusive of that region alone. The murder of Eight Navy Zone Commander, Carlos Salazar Ramonet, which occurred on a road nearby Zamora, coupled with violent events in Morelia and the recent massacre of protestors on Aquila, make Michoacán appear to be a state of war. What to do beyond strategies that come and go? What is the main reason for this state to be as complex as it is?

2- Murillo’s General Attorney’s Office and “Calderón’s inmates”: freeing those who wouldn’t harm a fly? In a few hours, Sandra Ávila (AKA: la Reina del Pacífico or the Pacific Queen) one of former President Calderón’s administration icons of organized crime, will be set free. Regardless that she would have already complied with her sentence of 70 months in prison, for which she was imprisoned in the U.S., Mexican Authorities have suggested that she could return to Mexico without fear of being prosecuted for any other charges against her. Even though she only served for a little less than a year of imprisonment in the U.S., Ávila was deprived of her freedom since September 2007. This issue adds up to the cases of the liberation of Generals Ángeles Dauahare and Dawe González, among others, as direct strikes to justice procurement efforts of the previous administration. Are ways truly changing or are they just for discrediting, among others, the current Consul in Milan?

3- Hell on earth: human trafficking: On July 29th, in an official act headed by Luis González Placencia, Mexico City Ombudsman, the 3rd Report on Human Rights Regarding Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation and Feminicide Violence was presented. Among the most worrisome figures, the decrease in the number of accusations for the human trafficking crime offence, which went from 49 in 2011 to 12 in 2012 (and, of course, this decrease is not due to a diminish in Mexico City’s sexual exploitation) certainly stands out. Even though there are no official references about the real situation of these type of crimes, it is possible to get an idea with the apprehensions made at the bar Cadillac in the end of June, where 14 individuals were captured. The abomination of this type of slavery is not a moral question, but of full respect to the fundamental human rights of every individual. What is the society’s role in fighting against this execrable evil?

4- Up to what point are the structural reforms to poverty “scary”? According to figures provided by CONEVAL, the organization responsible for assessing social development policies, during the last two years of the administration of then-President Calderón, extreme poverty had reduced by 11.1%, though plain, simple poverty –that which has people living with incomes below the so-called “well-being line” – increased by half a million. Do these figures show any kind of progress? Maybe. However, the Secretary of Finance, Luis Videgaray, warned that if Mexico doesn’t grow at 5% or higher levels, no social development strategy will be of any use, which was backed up by Rosario Robles, the head of the Secretariat of Social Development (SEDESOL). Videgaray also called on the urgency of approving the energy and tax reforms in order to approach that goal. Nevertheless, we know that no reform will create that change by itself alone. What additional conditions ought to be looked upon after the eventual approval of those reforms?

5- The moment of truth for new regulators. On August 3rd, 119 individuals will present the diagnostic test, established in the Constitution, with the purpose of starting the selection process of the next commissioners of the Economic Competition Federal Commission (COFECE) and the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFETEL). It’s worth remembering that an Assessment Committee, composed by the heads of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the Bank of Mexico and the newly created National Institute on Education Assessment, will be responsible for providing the exams of the applicants’ pre-selection and, in due course, sending the bids to the Government for the final stage of evaluation. In the face of forming these first results of the reforms on competition and telecommunications, what are the main challenges that these new commissioners face? Will the relevance of regulators in Mexico’s economic life grow?

Antonio De la Cuesta

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