Mexico News and Analysis: September 27 - October 3, 2010

1 - CALDERON PLANS NEW FEDERAL POLICE FORCE
2 - "TOURIST ABDUCTION" IS PROBABLY FIGHT BETWEEN RIVAL GANGS
3 - TELEVISA-NEXTEL ALLIANCE WINS NEW BANDWIDTH

1 - CALDERON PLANS NEW FEDERAL POLICE FORCE
In coming weeks, the Calderon administration will introduce a new plan that would virtually do away with the nation's 2,200 local police departments, replacing them with a "unified command."  The Army and Marines are already widely involved in police work and federal police have already replaced some of the most corrupt local police forces, but violence is increasing, particularly along the US border where rival cartels are battling for control of lucrative transshipment routes.  Local police throughout Mexico are notorious for corruption, both petty and grand, and are often controlled by corrupt local officials or infiltrated by drug cartels.  Calderon's plan would standardize training regimes and place officers under one unified command answering to both state and federal authorities.  But given corruption in the armed forces and among current federal police plus rampant corruption in state political machines, particularly in the north, it is doubtful that a new force would resolve current problems.  The existing federal police force, which expanded from 6,000 to 30,000 officers under Calderon, lost one-tenth of their officers this year, fired for corruption.  Drug cartels spend as much as US$9 billion per year, about a third of estimated income, buying politicians and police.  And when officials won't accept bribes or are already on the payroll of another cartel, they are often murdered, as evidenced by the recent deaths of eleven mayors.  Currently Calderon is utilizing the Army and Marines to carry out policing, particularly in border states, but troops have no training in law enforcement and have come under harsh criticism for widespread human rights abuses, including unlawful killings, torture, and illegal home invasions.  The new force is expected to cost US$2.4 billion next year.

2 - "TOURIST ABDUCTION" IS PROBABLY FIGHT BETWEEN RIVAL GANGS
A widely reported kidnapping of 20 "tourists" in Acapulco is likely related to a struggle between two drug cartels for control of territory, according to the state office of the attorney general.  The tourist group consisted of 20 men, all supposedly mechanics on holiday from the neighboring state of Michoacan, home of La Familia, one of Mexico's most violent cartels.  The only witness to the abduction was a man traveling with the group, who has since disappeared.  The abduction was widely reported in the international press.

3 - TELEVISA-NEXTEL ALLIANCE WINS NEW BANDWIDTH
Televisa and Nextel will take control this week of a huge chunk of electromagnetic spectrum after winning a controversial auction in July.  Competitors Telcel and Telefonica, who paid US$400 million for a similar slice of the spectrum in the same auction, mounted several court challenges against Televisa-Nextel after they won with the minimum bid of US$14.1 million.  Opposition parties condemned the auction results as an example of the PAN currying favor with Televisa in anticipation of presidential elections in 2012.  Televisa, Mexico's largest television conglomerate, committed to buying 30% of Nextel Mexico for US$1.44 billion after obtaining the license for the new spectrum, though it appears now that the media giant may be trying to renegotiate the terms.