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Could Mexico Benefit from a version of the US Patriot Act?

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Washington D.C.—The drug war in Mexico has now claimed over 100,000 lives, costs Mexico’s economy about 15% of the GDP, according to Mercedes Juan Lopez, Mexican Health Secretary, all this since former President Felipe Calderon (PAN) declared war against organized crime in Mexico.

While Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) has done what many other presidents in Mexico have tried for years that is to bring several constitutional reforms, such as Education, Energy, and Fiscal reform, all point that the Pact for Mexico (Pacto Por Mexico) is actually working.

What is next?

In the speech President Enrique Peña Nieto gave on public television on celebrating Christmas, he indicated or hinted that security is something he may be addressing next. But there is something perhaps that Mexico could use to combat the drug war effectively that other countries have copied from the US. It is called the US Patriot Act.

On November 2013, Pakistan announced that it had created a law that mirrored the US Patriot act in order to combat terrorism and militant threats from Al Qaeda and the Taliban that are causing significant loss of life in the region by Afghanistan.

The law as in the US, allows the government to detain thousands of Islamists and terrorists without formal charges in order to take control back and restore governability in these areas. However, this creates some criticism from Human Rights groups because simply they would rather see a judicial system involved and a legal process to run its course.

The reality, however, in Pakistan is not working when you are dealing with hundreds of thousands terrorists and militants who are committing terror attacks on the civilian and government. The cases most times are thrown out of court because the evidence is not there and the strict rules for a case to be brought just do not give enough time for the authorities to build it.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that the law should have been implemented right after 9/11 but he was looking forward to finally putting a law in place that would give the government the legal framework to go after the terrorists.

Mexico is dealing with criminal organizations in the hundreds of thousands and this without factoring the corruption in the police forces. The drug cartels such as the Caballeros Templarios in Michoacán have control of over 73 of the 113 counties and have caused every branch of local and state government to collapse.

The assassinations of public officials is also a weekly event where the drug cartel is attacking not only civilians for not paying their extortion fees but getting tortured and killed the moment one is suspected of collaborating with the federal authorities.

In a recent interview to Mundo Fox, Servando Gomez Martinez, leader of the Caballeros Templarios stated that he has 10,000 heavily armed men. When Martinez was asked if he had people in the US, he stated that he had but were not armed.

In the state of Michoacán that number is a big number and while the camera was rolling, the weapons the body guards of Martinez appeared to be all military grade and assault weapons with grenade launchers. It is not clear if the 10,000 include all the police officers on his payroll but the number is an alarming number.

How could a legal system from the state of Michoacán deal with this number of criminals who have now declared war against the state?

The is absolutely no way for Michoacán to handle or deal with this larger number of "possible" cases, even if their judicial system was operating well. The legal system in that state has collapsed that it is not possible to even bring someone to trial on a common crime. A person I interviewed in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan tells me his father went to the local police, which is now under the Federal Police to make a report that someone had stolen a stereo from his car. The Federal Police officer, who was supposed to take the report, took the victim to someone and he was beaten and now appears to be dying from complications after the beating. And this scenario plays all over Mexico not just in Michoacan.

Mexico's answer could be found by adopting a version of the US Patriot Act. There is no better solution.

The situation in the drug war in Mexico has gotten out of control. Capital is leaving Mexico and people with the ability, such as the rich are making the US their home. It appears that the trusts in the local and state governments continue to go down and the only solutions right now rests in the federal government. While corruption from the police and military elements arriving to different parts of Mexico, is thriving.

Defense Secretary of Mexico, Salvador Cienfuegos has been asking for legislation for the Mexican military to have the abilities to fight the drug war. Perhaps this could be one solution.

Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) is on the right track and it is clear he is doing a great work on the reforms; now let’s brings the legal framework like a version of the US Patriot Act into the Mexican legal system.

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