Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Guanajuato’s new governor promises change of course on security

The governor-elect of Guanajuato has pledged to change course in fighting crime by adopting a new security strategy that includes strengthening municipal police forces and creating a financial intelligence agency to track flows of money related to petroleum theft.

Diego Sinhué Rodríguez Vallejo, who easily retained the governorship for the National Action Party (PAN) by winning almost 50% of the vote, told the newspaper El Universal that on the first day of his new government a state security council will be installed.

That, he said, will be the legal vehicle that will tighten the screws on both the state’s institutions and mayors in order to transform Guanajuato’s municipal police forces by offering better salaries, training and equipment to officers.

Violent crime has surged in Guanajuato this year, turning what was once a largely peaceful state into one of the country’s most violent.

A large proportion of homicides are believed to be connected with petroleum theft from state-owned pipelines and refineries.

Gangs of thieves known as huachicoleros sometimes collude with municipal police and other corrupt officials including Pemex employees to commit the crime.

Rodríguez told El Universal that the state oil company must be held accountable because a lot of fuel theft is linked to criminal collusion with Pemex workers.

The solution to combating the black market for stolen fuel is to clean up the Salamanca refinery, he charged, “because theft isn’t just from pipelines, it’s also from tankers that leave [the refinery] filled [with fuel but] without invoices.”

Rodríguez added that the financial intelligence agency he plans to establish will help track illicit financial flows back to criminal organizations, meaning that it will be easier to prosecute them.        

He also said he believed that federal authorities “have erred on the issue of centralization of commands and the militarization of the country.”

In contrast, he said, the new strategy “will bet again on municipal police forces” and enforcing the law.

The number of employees at the state’s Attorney General’s office will more than quadruple to 1,000 from 237 as part of the fight against impunity, Rodríguez said.

The governor-elect said that his challenge was to return peace and prosperity to the state and combat corruption, adding that he expected he would have a good relationship with incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“I will be a governor of results, transparent and honest,” Rodríguez said.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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