Mexico Is Implementing Reforms, but Still Faces a Challenging Security Dynamic
A few weeks after Enrique Peña Nieto was elected as Mexico’s new president, I walked through the gate in the heavy metal security fence and into the modern, high-tech campus of Mexico’s Public Security Ministry in Mexico City. I watched Francisco Niembro González, who then served as former president Felipe Calderon's vice-secretary of Information Technology at the security ministry, or SSP for its initials in Spanish, enter into the federal government’s crisis-planning center inside a hermetically sealed bunker. He pulled up a map showing the flight trajectories of cocaine-carrying planes leaving Colombia. Curved red lines marked the flight paths of the smuggling routes between Colombia, one of the world's top cocaine producers, and Guatemala and Honduras, two countries to the south of Mexico, the gateway country to the United States, the world’s number one cocaine consumer. “Planes with drugs no longer enter Mexico,” Niembro explained, aiming a laser pointer at one of the conference room’s massive display screens. Another room shows graphics of cartel hierarchies. “Evolution of the Michoacán Cartel,” said one poster. “La Familia Michoacána,” said another. The faces in the photos were marked with labels explaining which leaders had been killed or captured. “We’ve invested in technology and the results are there,” Niembro said.