Soldiers patrol an Acapulco beach. Soldiers patrol an Acapulco beach.

Organizers cancel peace pact meeting

Acapulco meeting won't take place for security reasons

A meeting in Acapulco that was intended to develop a peace pact with organized crime has been canceled for security reasons, said its organizer yesterday.

Laura Caballero Rodríguez, president of the Association of Established Coastal Businesspeople, told a press conference yesterday that the meeting, despite having the support of 50 civil associations and indications of interest on the part of the state government, would not proceed.

The intention had been to draw up a peace pact and find 50 crime gang leaders to accept it, but first they were to be asked to agree to a ceasefire while the process was under way.

Asked if the cancelation was due to pressure by organized crime, Caballero Rodríguez refused to elaborate. But she said the idea would be revisited in a month’s time.

When she announced the plan March 30, Caballero Rodríguez lamented the violence in Acapulco and said criminals “have us on our knees. Never have we lived with so much fear . . . .”

The meeting was to have been held today after a postponement last week.

The state government was urged last month by a Catholic bishop to open a dialogue with criminal gangs to try to bring peace to Guerrero.

Salvador Rangel, bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, said in an interview with Reforma that in his sermons he had called on criminals to seek peace and dialogue and stop the killings and the kidnappings.

He said the government should engage in dialogue and seek an end to the violence. He offered as an example the tolerance showed by the state towards farmers who cultivate opium poppies, implying the same could be applied to cartels.

A week ago the mayor of Chilpancingo suggested there be dialogue but cautioned that the state itself could not engage in discussions with organizations that operated outside the law. Marco Antonio Leyva suggested the bishop might be the one to do so.

Leyva heads the government of Guerrero’s second most violent municipality, after Acapulco.

Its municipal police force, serving a population of more than 250,000, consists of 120 officers, five patrol vehicles and four motorcycles.

Cities in the United States with more than 50,000 population had on average 17 officers per 10,000 residents in 2012. That ratio would give Chilpancingo 425 police officers.

Source: Reforma (sp)

Reader forum