35,000 people killed in four years. This is the balance of the war launched by Mexican President Felipe Calderón on drug cartels. How many civilians have been killed during this war? No one knows for sure. Corruption is growing; horrible crimes are spreading terror; tourism is plummeting. The situation in Mexico is bad. Debates are raging regarding a change of strategy. Two debates have started, one concerning the legalisation of drugs, led by the former Presidents of Mexico, Brasil and Colombia, who have just handed over a report; the other about the introduction of prevention in Mexican public policy.
What prevention for the century? Represented by its President, Guilherme Pinto, and its Executive Director, Michel Marcus, the Forum introduced a conference on this theme which gathered in Mexico City some 1,200 Mexican officials, elected representatives and stakeholders in the field of crime prevention, on January 27 and 28, 2011. The conference also presented case-studies from Italy, Canada, Brazil and Colombia.
Our standpoint on the question of prevention is obviously based on our experience in Europe. Can it be applied to a country like Mexico, in light of the dramatic situation prevailing there? Our doubts were quickly dispelled. The chairman of one of the few NGOs working in Ciudad Juarez, the infamously notorious frontier town where scores of women and youngsters have been ruthlessly killed, explained why he could not do much against the illegal introduction of weapons, and why his best hope was to help youth to resist the temptation of violence.
This is also one of our main preoccupations. Our resources are similar as well. The Mexican National Council for Crime Prevention and Citizen Participation is willing to pursue the dialogue with the European Forum through the series of debates currently taking place in various Mexican states. Furthermore, it is evaluating the need to train local coordinators and stakeholders. It is also considering the possibility of collaborating with European universities.
We will soon publish the text of the addresses given by the representatives of the European Forum.
You can download the programme of the conference of Mexico
You can also read press reviews here
You can also read an article titled “World Bank committed to Crime Prevention in Mexico“, on the website of the World Bank