Mexican President Felipe Calderón today inaugurates the first International Conference against Transnational Organized Crime. The Mexican president, who will leave office on December 1, when President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto is inaugurated, has defended his use of Mexican security forces to combat criminal organizations since December 2006.
Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales offered to host the conference during last month’s Tercera Consulta Técnica para desarrollar el Esquema Hemisférico contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional (Third Technical Consultation to Develop the Hemispheric Scheme against Transnational Organized Crime), which was held in Santiago, Chile on August 2-3.
Officials and prosecutors from 23 nations in the Americas were present in Chile, following up on two previous consultations in Cancún and Antigua, Guatemala. The series of meetings was established at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena this April to create international mechanisms to combat organized crime on a hemispheric level.
“All mechanisms, tools, and information that has been established in different conventions and international agreements must be updated and homogenized,” said Morales, who added that new regional initiatives would encompass police, ministerial, and intelligence components.
The purpose of today’s conference is to examine the proposals made in Mexico, Guatemala and Chile, including the creation of the Centro Coordinador contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional (Coordinating Center Against Transnational Organized Crime)—an autonomous center allowing police, prosecutors, and intelligence agents to exchange information about organized crime—and the Comision Interamericana contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional (Inter-American Commission against Transnational Organized Crime—CIDOT), an entity under the OAS that would address organized crime.
Organized crime has defined the presidency of President Calderón, who highlighted the achievements of his outgoing administration when he addressed the nation at the beginning of September. Calderón said that federal security forces have killed or captured 22 of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted drug traffickers and said the number of federal police officers in Mexico has increased from 6,500 to over 37,000. However, in January, the last time the Mexican government released official statistics on drug war violence, an estimated 47,000 people had been killed between December 2006 and September 2011.