Mexico requires top federalies to prove not corrupt
Mexico temporarily removed all 284 of its top federal police officers from their jobs and is forcing them to prove they will not be corrupted in the fight against drug trafficking, the government announced Monday.A presumption of innocence is not always valid in the case of Mexican law enforcement where the rule of law has become a sometimes thing, especially where drugs are involved. Some may choose to retire or go the work in the "private" sector rather than submit to the probe.
Mexican authorities often have purged police forces in attempts to eliminate corruption, only to see the fired officers go to work full time for organized crime. This is one of the most extreme measures taken yet in hopes of guaranteeing the honesty of high-ranking officers.
It comes as Mexico seeks more U.S. aid in its crackdown on drug gangs. Washington has long complained about endemic corruption hindering anti-smuggling efforts in Mexico.
Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said the review came in response to Mexican frustration over corruption, and has nothing to do with U.S. pressure. In recent years, scores of federal police have been caught working for the drug cartels, tainting what Mexicans once considered their last trustworthy group of officers.
"We are well aware that the Mexican people are demanding police be honest, clean and trustworthy," Garcia Luna said. "It's obvious that there are mafias that don't want the situation to change so they can continue to enrich themselves under the protection of corruption and crime."
Garcia Luna said the 284 high-ranking police would be forced to undergo what he called a "trust test" including anti-doping exams, polygraphs and psychological reviews; investigations of their acquaintances, friends, and family; and checks on whether their assets are in line with their earnings.
In a rare acknowledgment of the gravity of violence related to drug trafficking, Mexico's top domestic security official, Interior Secretary Francisco Ramirez, recently said the government had lost control before President Felipe Calderon launched the current offensive.