Journal Article

Real and Imagined Extremist Threats in Mexico and along the U.S.–Mexico Border: ‘Colombianization’ as an Antidote to Leftist and Criminal Extremist Networks

Patricia Olney

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 3, issue 3, pages 245-254
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pap024
Real and Imagined Extremist Threats in Mexico and along the U.S.–Mexico Border: ‘Colombianization’ as an Antidote to Leftist and Criminal Extremist Networks

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The term ‘Colombianization’ conjures up images of such extreme corruption, violence and mayhem that it has always been Mexico's worst nightmare to have it applied to the country. However, given Colombia's extraordinary accomplishments in its battle against its main extremist threat, this article argues that ‘Colombianization’ is now associated with hope and successful strategies to reduce extremist violence and increase the effectiveness of the state. It advocates recognizing that Mexico, like Colombia, faces leftist extremist threats that, while weak, have the potential to be dangerous if they should become networked with other groups or obtain drug resources. Worries about right-wing extremism at the U.S.–Mexico border, and the fear of strong police due to memories of the Dirty War have been counterproductive. It recommends incorporating local level strategies into the Merida Initiative that combine experiments used successfully in both Colombia and Mexico. The FICLAR strategy stands for Fast, Integrated, Counterinsurgency-centric, Law-based, Alternative development-focused and requiring the Re-establishment of elite consensus.

Journal Article.  5738 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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