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The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

November 27, 2000

Part III of The Mexican Transition

Countdown to December 1, 2000:

Fox Appoints Drug Reformer Gertz as Public Safety Czar

Mexico City's Top Cop Takes National Helm

"It is indispensable to rescue the fundamental idea of ending the economic interest in drug trafficking" -- Alejandro Gertz Manero


Even more significant, perhaps, to drug policy than Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox's appointment of drug legalization advocate Jorge Castañeda as Secretary of State was his nomination, tonight, of Mexico City Police Chief Alejandro Gertz Manero as the nation's Secretary of Public Safety.

Gertz Manero will be responsible for overseeing all Mexican law enforcement agencies, consolidating them, implementing Fox's plan to abolish the PGR (Attorney General's office) and developing the coherent national strategy against crime.

Abolishing the PGR takes on a new urgency now that Fox has, tonight, named military prosecutor Rafael Macedo de la Concha as Attorney General. Macedo's appointment has been criticized universally by human rights organizations for his persecution of General José Francisco Gallardo (whose crime was to write a report calling for the designation of a public ombudsman for the armed forces) and brutal treatment of other dissenting voices. (General Gallardo, interviewed on Macedo's appointment from his military prison, told El Universal, "If Fox wants to bring about the end the PGR, then his decision was the right one.")

Gertz Manero, a long-respected Mexican intellectual who was appointed Police Chief in 1998 by Mexico City's first elected mayor, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, fast developed a reputation as tough on crime, tough on corruption, and as a realist and a humanist when dealing with the victims of crime, including addicts.

Last May, The Narco News Bulletin translated Gertz Manero's Mothers Day column from El Universal, in which he called for "a Holland-style drug policy" in Mexico.

Gertz Manero called for "A Third Path" to combatting the harm associated with the abuse and trafficking of some drugs, modeled on the humanist policy of the Netherlands.

He wrote:

"The production and transit countries for drugs, like Cambodia, Colombia and Mexico, live with their own hell, while their institutions are infiltrated by drug traffickers and suffer a constant decay, their social structures brutally erode without finding answers or viable solutions.

"The third path has worked for countries like Holland that try to end the economic pressures of drug trafficking and recognize that drug addicts are ill, taking charge to allow the free use of drugs by those addicts inside of a therapeutic project, so that those who have irredeemably fallen into this vice do not become instruments of the economic interests of crime."

Gertz Manero, president (on leave) of the University of the Americas in Mexico City, added:

"From the third option, it is indispensable to rescue the fundamental idea of ending the economic interest in drug trafficking, recognizing that addicts are sick and they require a controlled dose of drugs, that lessens over time, and medical assistance so they can recover.

"The common denominator in this fight must be to end the economic interest of drug trafficking while creating conscience in the entire community about the damages of these addictions so that the youth are protected to prevent them from falling into into this evil."

The Narco News Bulletin, which has not hesitated to criticize Fox for his errors, congratulates Mexico's president-elect on this historic appointment. The eyes of the world will be upon Alejandro Gertz Manero. May he have the same authority and ability to shake up the system that he had while working for Cárdenas in Mexico City. If Fox lets him do his job, not only Mexico will be better off for his labor, but all América as well.

Read Alejandro Gertz Manero's May 10th Column for a Holland-Style Drug Policy

The Mexican Transition: Immediate History

Part I: Mexico's Next Secretary of State says Legalize Drugs

II: Fox's 1st Challenge is to enact the Chiapas San Andrés Accords

III: Fox Names Drug Reformer Gertz as Nation's Top Cop

IV: Answer the Call to Mexico City, February 2001

V: Marcos to Zedillo: "You Lost the War"

VI: A Play in Two Acts by Marcos

VII. Marcos Welcomes Fox: "You Start from Zero"

See Our Previous Nine Part Series on the Narco in Chiapas

Covering the Immediate History of Our América