03/04/13 – On February 26, Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, former undersecretary for Planning and Institutional Protection (Subsecretario de Planeación y Protección Institucional) and deputy secretary of Public Safety (Encargado de Despacho de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública) under the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, was accepted by the Senate as National Security Commissioner (Comisionado Nacional de Seguridad) with 115 votes in his favor, zero against, and two abstentions.
Senators Fernando Yunes of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), to which Mondragón also belongs, and Cristina Diaz of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) praised the appointment recognizing Mondragón’s professionalism, experience, and capability in filling the position. Shortly after his appointment, Mondragón addressed the public during a press conference answering to the issue of community police forces that have formed in Mexico. While the commissioner denied that such groups–also known as self-defensive groups (grupos de autodefensa)–pose a serious threat to national governability, he recognized the importance of analyzing the causes and roots under which these diverse groups emerge in order to adequately prescribe solutions, and highlighted the differences among the groups, notably their use of various weapons and arms. The commissioner rejected the claim that the presence of these forces has rendered Mexico a violent and ungovernable country. To this he added, “A great part of the inhabitants of this country live peacefully, a great part of these entities are under peaceful terms as well; the fact that in some sites this phenomena is developing, does not speak of ungovernability.” Instead the new commissioner spoke of Mexico as a country with “absolute governability,” though noting that, like all other countries, it has its areas that need attention and resources. For more information on community police forces in Mexico, read the Justice in Mexico Project’s February 2013 Monthly News Monitor.
Mondragón received his medical education from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM). He also has a degree in Public Administration from the Panamerican Business Institute (Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresas, IPADE) and over 40 years of experience in public service within the areas of health, prevention, and public security.