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Cablegate: Gom Proposes Increases in Security and Justice

VZCZCXRO0619
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2766/01 2551248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111248Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3248
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002766

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SNAR KCRM MX
SUBJECT: GOM PROPOSES INCREASES IN SECURITY AND JUSTICE
SPENDING

REF: MEXICO 2764

Increased Security Spending
---------------------------
1. On September 8 the GOM sent the 2009 budget to Congress
for debate and approval. The most eye-catching aspect of the
budget was President Calderon's announcement of a "near 40
percent" increase for security and justice. According to our
math, security spending in real terms would actually rise by
32.9 percent in the amount of MX$54bn (US$5.14bn) )
accounting for the budget's 2009 projection for inflation at
3.8 percent and growth of 3 percent. Calderon said that the
security budget had to be increased because "security,
justice, and law and order" are the key challenges facing the
country. He reiterated that his administration would continue
with its current strategy of using the army and the navy to
support the police in the war against drug-trafficking gangs.
(Comment: As the overall budget projects increased spending
by just 5.7% in real terms, there will clearly be some big
losers: Transportation and Communication, as well as
Agriculture will see some significant cuts. See reftel. End
Comment.)

2. Calderon was speaking about the security budget at a
ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the federal police
force and to confirm promotions. He repeated his promise to
overhaul the police and improve training and also to increase
public confidence by increasing citizens' monitoring of the
federal force. The president said that the GOM would
continue with its national system for police training and
development (Sistema Nacional de Desarrollo Policial); its
efforts to coordinate various police forces, intelligence
gathering (the Sistema Unico de Informacion Criminal) and the
overall harmonization of the country's different federal,
state, and municipal police forces under the &Platform
Mexico8 computer system.

Breakdown for Security Secretariats
-----------------------------------
3. If approved, the respective budgets for the Public
Security Secretariat (SSP) would increase by 49.8%; the
Attorney General's Office (PGR), 29.2%; the Interior
Secretariat (SEGOB), 25.1%; the National Defense Secretariat
(SEDENA), 16.1%; and the Navy (SEMAR), 12.3%. The sum total
of the budgets for these ministries would increase by
MX$22.5bn, from MX$88.1bn to MX$110.6bn (or 5.2% of
programmable public expenditure). (Comment: The difference
in the referenced MX$54bn security spending increase versus
the MX$22.5bn increase in the budgets of the security
ministries is likely due to both the increases in the
judicial branch's budget as well as security/justice related
budget line items that do not necessarily fall under the
security ministries, purview. End Comment.

More Spending Necessary, But Alone Not the Solution
--------------------------------------------- ------
4. (SBU) According to Mexican security analyst Jorge Chabat,
the GOM's response over the past decade to citizens' demands
for increased security has been more investment in police
personnel and resources in combating crime. Unfortunately,
this increased spending has done little to curb insecurity.
Today, Mexico has more than half a million police officers,
4.8 for every 1000 inhabitants, which places it above the
United States in the index of agents per capita. Furthermore,
in the last decade, the security budget has increased by a
factor of almost six. Despite the increase in resources,
crime rates are at the same, or even higher, levels with one
compounding aspect: impunity is also on the rise. According
to an analysis conducted by scholars from the Citizen
Security, Criminal Justice, and Human Rights project of the
Center of Research for Development (CIDAC), with data from
2007, 98 percent of crimes go unpunished.

5. (SBU) On the other hand, Chabat expressed optimism about
Calderon's security and justice reform plans and noted that
increased spending was necessary to implement them. "There
is no short term solution," he said, "changing police and
judicial institutions will be an inevitably long-term
process." The difference this time is that the current
administration is taking concrete steps toward achieving that
end, rather than simply throwing money at poor performers.
Comment
-------

MEXICO 00002766 002 OF 002


6. (SBU) The increased security budget is a clear reflection
of the current public alarm over growing crime and violence,
and Calderon's effort to articulate the high priority he is
giving to combating crime. Over the past few weeks, public
safety has been on the top of the political agenda ) partly
overshadowing other issues such as energy reform ) and will
remain a significant public issue, putting constant pressure
on the GOM to show results. Moreover, it will remain a
constant source of acrimony between federal, state and local
governments, and political parties. Legislators have kept
themselves busy dealing with the public security crisis )
all three major parties have introduced bills they say are
designed to curb violence. However, politicians we have
spoken with in recent days say it will be difficult for
opposition elements to take issue with Calderon's security
spending priorities, given the public's growing alarm.
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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