05 | DIC | 2019
Mexico spent USD $7.7 billion on weapons
Mexico's war against crime has resulted in mass graves and thousands missing - Photo: Israel Leal/AP

Mexico spent USD $7.7 billion on weapons

13/03/2019
11:45
Mexico City
Editorial
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Today, EL UNIVERSAL revealed that during Peña Nieto's presidency, the Mexican government spent the largest amount of money on weapons in its history

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Mexico's choice to fight organized crime face to face since December 2006, and maintaining this strategy even after a new administration took office in 2012, has been very expensive for the country, economically and in the loss of thousands of lives.

Today, EL UNIVERSAL revealed that during former President Enrique Peña Nieto's presidency, the Mexican government spent the largest amount of money on weapons in its history.

The Swedish Peace Research Institute revealed that from 2014 to 2018, Mexico was placed in the 34th place among the countries who acquire weapons, surpassing Brazil as the biggest importer of supplies in Latin America. In 2015, the weapon's output in Mexico reached USD $7,700 million. In regards to the victims, the homicide rate has registered record numbers every 30 days. Therefore, this strategy was twice as expensive and showed a few positive results.

The USD $7,700 million spent in 2015 could have been destined to other tasks such as intelligence, for example, instead of relying on weapons to fight crime.

According to the report issued by the Peace Research Institute, the weapons acquired by Mexico aren't sophisticated, they are mostly armored vehicles and helicopters and it followed the strategy to fight drug cartels and respond to the type of weapons used by organized crime.

Deciding to deploy the armed forces to fight crime sparked off a competition to acquire the best weapons. Criminal groups, protected by the lack of border checks and corruption, armored themselves with the same or even more powerful equipment used by the Army or the Navy. In several attacks perpetrated by drug cartels, authorities have registered the use of RPG-7 anti-tank rocket launchers, grenades, and Barrett sniper rifles, some of the most powerful rifles in the world.

Yesterday, among these pages, Layda Negrete discussed the fight against fuel theft, as well as in the fight against drug cartels and explained that less violence is required and more intelligence is needed, more investigations, and less blatancy, but mostly, what is needed is to focus on individuals and companies that contribute to the phenomenon. Directing the government's energy towards the key gear, not the most visible or the weakest.

The desolating experiences Mexico has faced for over a decade is proof that betting on the acquisition of weapons was not the solution. During the previous administration, they lost the opportunity to redirect the strategy. For the current administration, learning from mistakes should be a priority.

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