10/25/11— At the beginning of October, two military operations were launched in Veracruz and Guerrero called Operación Cordinada Veracruz Seguro (Coordinated Operation for a Secure Veracruz) and the Operación Cordinada Guerrero Seguro (Coordinated Operation for a Secure Guerrero).
The Veracruz operation was announced on October 4, 2011, with the main goal to ensure that current police and authorities are qualified for the positions they hold and additionally to recruit new members for said positions. According to CNN México, before the operation, Veracruz “had a total of 21,035 policemen, of which only 10% had been evaluated.” In addition to the evaluation, cleansing, and training of new policemen, the operation also calls for more vigilance security in roads and airports.
The purpose of the operation in Guerrero, which was announced on October 6, is to protect students, teachers, and citizens from the violence caused by drug trafficking and drug cartels. Because of increased violence in Guerrero recently, particularly threats made toward school teachers, educators in Acapulco, Guerrero went on strike in August to demand a safer work environment for both themselves and for the students at their schools. As a result of the strike, the government of Mexico agreed to increase the security in areas surrounding schools, while the teachers agreed to return to their normal activities. In addition to protecting school teachers and students, the Guerrero operation is also focused on combatting crime and boosting public relations among police and citizens.
Thus far, the operation in Veracruz has resulted in a 73% reduction in homicides, while in Guerrero, there has been a 53% decrease in homicides. Although the crime and homicide rates have decreased in Veracruz, according to El Economista, there have been researchers who have noted that the operation in Veracruz has not had an impact on disrupting the Zetas Cartel structural organization and therefore predict that violence will only increase in the near future as cartels respond to the increased military security in their turf.
Although some doubt the effectiveness of these operations, Secretary of Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación, Segob) Blake Mora is optimistic that President Calderón’s administration will help permanently reduce violence with operations like these. As reported in CNN México, similar operations have taken place in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas since President Calderón assumed office in 2006.