Saturday, June 22, 2024

Guanajuato, Querétaro governors question big cuts to security funding

The governors of Guanajuato and Querétaro have expressed concern over the reduction in federal funding for municipal police forces, a move the former described as a “national strategy mistake.”

Last year, 21 municipalities in Guanajuato – the most violent state in 2018 in terms of sheer homicide numbers – received funding for their municipal police forces via the federal government’s Security Enhancement Program (Fortaseg).

But this year, the new administration has only allocated resources to 15 municipalities, all of which will receive less money for their police forces than they got in 2018.

León, which recorded the second highest number of homicides last year among Guanajuato’s 46 municipalities, will receive 38.3 million pesos this year compared to just over 67 million pesos in 2018, a 42% reduction.

All told, the 15 municipalities included in Fortaseg this year will receive 214 million pesos (US $11.1 million) but among those that won’t receive any federal security funding are municipalities located on the border with Jalisco and Michoacán, two states where criminal organizations have a strong presence.

Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo said he has supported the government’s national security strategy, including the proposal to create a national guard and the crackdown on fuel theft, but was critical of the funding cuts for municipal police.

“If we don’t strengthen municipal police forces, [the security situation] won’t change. I think it’s a national strategy mistake,” he said.

“The role of federal and state forces is to look after territory; who should take care of the people are the municipal police because they have the training to attend to the citizens. The navy and the army are not trained to be preventative [forces] or to be close [to citizens],” Rodríguez added.

The governor said he will petition federal Public Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo to provide more funds to Guanajuato’s municipalities either through Fortaseg or other means.

Rodríguez added that the state government will provide 600 million pesos (US $31.3 million) for municipalities to strengthen their police forces, explaining that “security is the priority” for his administration.

There were 3,290 homicides in Guanajuato last year, many of which are believed to be linked to pipeline petroleum theft carried out by violent gangs such as the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.

Municipalities in Querétaro, which borders Guanajuato to the east, have also seen a reduction in their Fortaseg funding while Tequisquiapan, a pueblo mágico (magical town), has been excluded from the program altogether.

Querétaro, El Marqués, Corregidora and San Juan are the only four municipalities in the state that will receive Fortaseg money in 2019 but the 62.8 million pesos (US $3.3 million) they will share is 45% less than the 114.3 million pesos they got last year.

Querétaro Governor Francisco Domínguez told reporters that he will seek to meet either with Security Secretary Durazo or officials from the Secretariat of Finance to ask that the government reconsider the decision to exclude Tequisquiapan from the Security Enhancement Program.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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