Government: Police who are scared of drug gangs should not be in job |

Government: Police who are scared of drug gangs should not be in job

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican government warned Wednesday that officers who are scared of being attacked by drug gangs should not be in law enforcement, despite a wave of killings of top police officials.Ruben Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, said that the government “recognized the heroism” of all public officials killed in the line of duty, but said authorities will not stop fighting drug cartels until all the their members are in prison.”It takes a lot of courage to confront organized crime. Those who are scared should not be there,” Aguilar said in a news conference.On Monday, two police chiefs were shot and killed within hours of each other in the towns of Sabinas Hidalgo and San Pedro Garza Garcia in a northern Mexico, where drug gangs have been battling for control of smuggling routes into the Unites States.Last year, the police chief of Nuevo Laredo, across the river from Laredo, Texas, was fatally shot on the street hours after being sworn into office. And in the central state of Michoacan, the head of police was gunned down in a restaurant.Dozens of low-ranking policemen and several prison guards were also slain in drug-related violence last year, while federal judges who work on organized crime cases have asked for police protection.Bruce Bagley, an expert on drug traffickers at the University of Miami, criticized the Fox government for failing to put enough resources into the battle against the cartels.”It’s all very well to talk about heroes, when they have left these men on the front line to die like dogs,” Bagley said. “The federal government is a bystander to violence that is tearing the country apart and spilling into the United States.”Bagley also held Mexico’s Congress responsible for the poor security situation, arguing a bill to overhaul the nation’s justice system has been stuck in gridlock.”Mexico’s justice system is totally broken. The lawmakers are fiddling and bickering while Rome burns,” he said.U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza has repeatedly urged the Mexican government to do more to stop drug violence that killed more than 1,000 people across the country last year.Fox has said his government is fighting “the mother of all battles” against organized crime and has arrested more than 40,000 people on drug charges, including several kingpins, since he took power in December 2000.But he says that the confrontation with the cartels has provoked a backlash against officers.Many analysts have compared the spiraling drug violence in Mexico to Colombia in the 1990s, when the Medellin and Cali cartels killed police officers, judges and politicians.However, Bagley said that Mexico does not have the same reasons as Colombia to be overwhelmed by drug violence.”The differences are stark. There is no ongoing civil war in Mexico. There are no real guerrilla armies and right wing paramilitaries,” he said.Mexican officials blame U.S. consumers for feeding drug demand and U.S. gun sellers for providing Mexican smugglers with weapons.Vail, Colorado

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