Mexico Lacks Leadership

The efforts of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government to show that Mexico is a country under control and safe vanish in front of realities such as the events in Guerrero.

The disappearance of 43 students who were apparently detained by the authorities only to be handed over to the Guerreros Unidos gang should disturb society and become a social and political turning point. The impunity lurking over this act of corruption of power, of drug lord influence and slaughter, ought to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Yet, the reaction at Los Pinos, where the president’s official residence is located, was not very different from what we have seen on other occasions. Peña Nieto’s order to activate crime investigation resources, and his statements promising that there will be no impunity, are a moderate reaction on his part.

We believe that this was the time for the chief executive to show leadership by sharing the country’s indignation over these events, breaking out of the odious routine and not treating it as if it was a misdemeanor.

This was the occasion for Peña Nieto to visit Iguala, meet the relatives of the disappeared and declare that he is committed to carrying this case to its final consequences. The impact of reading official statements cannot compare to that of direct contact.

The state of Guerrero is not far from the Federal District. It takes only three hours to get there by car. In fact, that state was one of the most visited by the leader last year. Still, instead of seizing this opportunity, the president did exactly the opposite: He cancelled a visit to Guerrero days after the events, citing “bad weather.”

Guerrero is a decomposing state. The country’s Attorney General’s office knew of the link between Mayor José Luis Abarca and drug cartels. Business owners have been paying a tax to drug lords for a long time, and now — as they search for the students — common graves pop up everywhere.

It is time to say “enough” to narco-mayors and to murderous corruption. Impunity and recidivism are fostered from the moment that this is deemed just another massacre. The President’s response is not up to the task