Don’t Talk the Talk

Mexico City(LATITUDE) There will be no more drug executions in Mexico, no more “levantones” (kidnappings with intent to murder) or “encajuelados” (dead bodies in car trunks, or cajuelas). There will be no more mob bosses, no more mob soldiers, no more hit men. Now, there will be only “homicides probably linked to federal indictment” and kidnappings or, rather, “illegal deprivations of freedom.” And there will be just people with a first name and a last name, with no aliases and no job titles. After 6 years of bloody drug-related violence and, according to latest official tally, 65.362 murders related to organized crime, the new government’s best strategy for dealing with drug crimes is to stop mentioning them for what they are. The last weekend the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry and attorney general summoned all communications officials working for the state-level police departments to talk about talking about crime. Eduardo Sánchez, under secretary of interior, suggested they avoid “the language that criminals use” and banish their nicknames and hierarchical descriptions. The point was to avoid “sending the wrong picture to society,” Sánchez said. He was concerned “many young people living in poverty or in very difficult social circumstances” might consider crime an alternative if they saw images of criminals with lot of money. They might think, “better a short life of many pleasures, than a long life in poverty,” he said. This is a marked departure from previous government, which was obsessed with the language of the war on crime. President Felipe Calderón talked constantly about security, street battles and dead bodies. Criminals who were arrested would be paraded before TV cameras in front of tables stacked with money, weapons, drugs; each one was presented to journalists by name, alias and supposed position in the supposed organizational chart of their gang. After six years of that, most Mexicans knew names of the cartels and their captains by heart. Since he took office in December, President Enrique Peña Nieto has seldom appeared with the military, federal police or even attorney general. He has never mentioned name of a criminal organization or a mob boss. Whenever he is pressed to talk about security or violence, he answers with words “peace”+“prevention.” The practice is catching on. According to one study by a media-watchdog organization, in the first three months of this year the use of the word “organized crime” dropped by 50% on the front pages of newspapers and by 70% in TV news broadcasts, compared with the same period last year. Although homicide rates have decreased only slightly, the word “murder” appeared half as often on front pages between last December and February than during the same period a year before. The president has changed the language. But can he change numbers? Will renaming the national security cabinet the “peace cabinet”, which has been done, alter the fact that there were more than 1,100 homicides related to organized crime and drug trafficking in March alone? Peña Nieto campaigned on promise of reducing by half the number of murders in Mexico. Now he won’t even talk about crime. And while he keeps quiet about it, criminals are going about their business. The Homicide rates have dropped a bit recently, but that’s part of a slow trend that predates this administration and the figures are still very high. Meanwhile, number of kidnappings and incidents of extortions, from the federal government’s most recent crime statistics, have increased, according to preliminary reports from the state authorities. Newspeak cannot change reality. (source: Carlos Puig – NYTimes – 19/04/2013)


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to Don’t Talk the Talk

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says:

    The use of newspeak to deal with organized crime, drug trafficking and ‘la violencia’ by Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration is good news for Mexico. It is the first step to de-militarize the so called drug war that killed thousands of innocent citizens. The (failed) military approach to deal with the huge US appetite for illicit drugs was taken by former pres Felipe Calderon, now attending classes at Harvard.


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