Friday, March 19, 2010

Scared witless

Reuters has a colorful story about police turning to alternative faiths – a mix of Santeria, vodou and Mexican witchcraft, apparently – as a means of surviving the cartels' reign of terror. (Link in title of post.)

"Sometimes a man needs another type of faith," former Tijuana policeman Marcos tells Reuters.

Another cop says: "We all know that guns and body armor are useless against the cartels because they are well-armed and can attack any time. But this is something we can believe in, that really works."

Ok, if police reform in this country is going to be a possibility, this needs to stop now. I've spoken to dozens of cops throughout Mexico, municipal, state and federal, and they are all completely petrified. Sometimes they're scared of hired guns who come down from the sierras and shoot up their colleagues, sometimes they're scared of the military, sometimes they're scared of their own colleagues who are working for the other side. Sometimes they're scared of themselves, because they know they can't fend off the cartels and will pretty much have to go crooked.

They definitely need faith to help them through life, but it is not the answer to their problems. They need trust. They need guns and body armor. They need training. They need camaraderie. They need regular drug tests. They need federal databases. They need... and so on.

PS - I'll comment on the Nuevo Leon blockades and arrests if/when I know more than any of the other papers.

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