After days of violence in the last weekend of October in Michoacán, in addition to several attacks at strategic facilities of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), a large amount of speculation started – as usual with these kinds of cases – trying to figure out who could be accounted for such acts. Some people are starting to act as the General Attorney’s Office or the police investigative unit; others voice complex conspiracy theories; some more adhere to institutionalism and only wait for official versions. Nevertheless, this is due to, among other factors, the authorities’ incapacity to produce a minimum amount of certainty in governance terms. A similar phenomenon occurred after the attacks against civilians during Morelia’s 2008 Independence Day celebrations. The government labeled these events as terrorism – even though no group claimed responsibility for them -, then blamed the criminal organization “La Familia Michoacana” (The Michoacán Family) – even though its members have denied any sort of involvement -, afterwards, alleged responsible individuals were captured – even though their degree of guilt is questionable – and, nowadays, everything is as dubious as it was back then. Beyond the speculation of these criminal acts, their motives as well as their perpetrators, it is impossible to deny the responsibility and inefficiency that federal and local authorities share about security issues in the state (as well as the country).
It is unacceptable and incomprehensible that nearly seven years after the beginning of a war against organized crime – particularly the one linked to drug trafficking and which, precisely, started in Michoacán -, and the vast amount of human resources, materials and experts used to accomplish that goal, criminal acts like the aforementioned still take place. Likewise, even if there didn’t exist the current violence levels, does the federal authority not have the protection of the nation’s strategic facilities as a top priority? After what happened in Michoacán, it is understandable to question what sort of extraordinary measures authorities can put in place and, above all, what might be their success rate. Deployment of armed forces has proved to be a solution with fleeting and, occasionally, reversible results. In addition to all of the aforementioned attacks against CFE facilities, and whilst considering other incidents occurred in recent weeks about strategic infrastructure (for example, explosions of Pemex pipelines – some of them have actually been claimed to be responsibility of criminal groups -, oil leaks in Jalisco and Tabasco due to theft, or the tragedy of San Martín Texmelucan a few months ago), the panorama does not look promising at all.
The solution does not lie in the deployment of more troops or implementing extraordinary strategies. Experience has proven that while reactive measures take place, actions might work – in the best case scenario – as a palliative. The ease with which strategic facilities were damaged in an entity where supposedly all State forces are in a maximum alert status, certainly puts in evidence the lack of an integral security program, based on criminal intelligence and with the ability to prevent risks and act to diminish vulnerabilities. It is logical, necessary and urgent to safeguard the infrastructure of the country and avoid its recurrence in conflict zones, but there are still doubts over what vulnerabilities have not been adequately acknowledged and protected. As of now, it is evident that the change of administration at a federal level has not resulted in a better strategy or a greater efficiency in public security and, meanwhile, public peace, integrity, production activities as well as the development of the majority of Mexico’s territory and population are jeopardized by the operations of organized crime and the authorities’ accomplice incompetence.