Javier LlausÃ¡s: Peace Entrepreneur
By Andrew Paxman
Can a person be in business and altruistic at the same time? Is there a possibility of
congruence between doing business and being committed to peace? A lengthy
ideological tradition in Mexico exists that would answer both questions with a
resounding â€œno.â€ As Enrique Krauze noted in The Imperial Presidency capitalism was
a dirty word in the 70s; and, in certain corners of academia and the press the idea
that businessmen are a suspicious class continues to be an article of faith.
Those looking for a less ideological, more empirical response to such questions
would do well to consider Javier LlausÃ¡s. A graduate of the Tec de Monterrey and
based out of CuliacÃ¡n since 1989â€”where he runs a refrigeration servicing company
called Thermo Kingâ€”LlausÃ¡s has no name recognition beyond his native Sinaloa. IN
part thatâ€™s because of his great modesty. However, LlausÃ¡s has dedicated a good part
of his 55 years to promoting community responsibility among the stateâ€™s business
people. He has served as the President of the Coparmex affiliate and has participated
as an advisor to several state organizations that promote entrepreneurship, public
safety and electoral democracy.
LlausÃ¡s has sworn above all else to combat the scourge of violence staining Sinaloaâ€™s
name, making CuliacÃ¡n among the five most violent cities in the nation, measured by
homicide rate and according to the Citizenâ€™s Council for Public Safety. In 2011, with
the help of eight couples in private enterprise, LlausÃ¡s launched a daring strategy to
recuperate Altata in neighboring municipality of Navolato. Altata had been a tourist
mecca for middle and lower class people from CuliacÃ¡nâ€”but within three years a
move towards criminalityâ€”homicides, robberies, assaults on touristsâ€”turned it
into a ghost town. The police no longer functioned; its officers murdered or in flight.
Local sources blamed it on a dispute between groups affiliated with the Sinaloa and
â€œWe must rescue Altataâ€ began by convincing Sinaloaâ€™s Minister of Public Safety,
Francisco CÃ³rdova Celaya to send state police officers to arrest delinquents. In a few
weeks they arrested 95 people. Then he organized a caravan of 300 vehicles to go to
Altata one weekend for a symbolic and physical rescuing of the town. The 1,000
participants filled its restaurants, enjoying its seafront. They established a
precedent. LlausÃ¡sâ€™ team and the local authorities revived or initiated a whole series
of events to keep bringing tourists back, like the Crab Festival or the kite and sand
castle competitions. Today, Altata continues looking for ways to enjoy its freedom
But those efforts were insufficient. In the criminal case files LlausÃ¡s saw that almost
all the detained were between 17 and 25 years old; they had earned 1,500 pesos per
stolen car or a fixed wage as cartel lookouts. He realized a durable peace required
providing young people with alternatives. With CÃ³rdova Celayaâ€™s support and the
Australian Institute for Economy and Peace, and inspired by the program Tijuana
Innovadora (English translation: Innovative Tijuana), LlausÃ¡s and his business
friends helped people in the town establish small business to rent kayaks and jet
skis and to operate pharmacies. One of the nine, an engineer who works with NASA,
called Eduardo Guizar, conceived the project Near Space Explorers to involve
students from the local high school to construct microsatellites powered by helium
balloons. Several dozen local youth have participated.
It was through â€œRescatemos Altataâ€ that LlausÃ¡s received an invitation to employ his
entrepreneurial and philanthropic instincts â€“ although he prefers the term social
responsibility to philanthropy â€“ for wider projects. The offer came from Alberto
Coppel Luken, one of the five brothers who own the national chain store Coppel and
a friend since high school. Coppel Luken invited him to direct the social programs of
his C1 Foundation (original Spanish: FundaciÃ³n C1) with its already ambitious
program to rescue 1,150 public parks in CuliacÃ¡n and Navolato, many of them in
disrepair. LlausÃ¡s accepted in April 2014.
â€œHappy Parksâ€ has long been a developing work. Coppel Luken and LlausÃ¡s share
the vision that a park can be a fundamental place to promote â€œsocial fabricâ€ in a
community. But to sustain any type of renovation plan residents have to be
involved. First they have to be guided in how to work among themselves and,
second, with the municipality and private initiatives. The C1 Foundation employs 23
advisors to cultivate projects with each person rescuing 50 parks. They begin by
knocking on doors and convincing the neighbors to form committees. Then they
present their plans to authorities and local businesses. The funds to improve the
parks come from these three groups, not the C1 Foundation since it serves an
advisory role. They have formed 800 committees up to the present, and LlausÃ¡s
calculates that around 450 function well.
The C1 Foundation currently operates eight social programs and also its most
ambitious initiative â€œCuliacÃ¡n Participates.â€ Presently focused on the six
neighborhoods most afflicted by crime, the program employs a multifaceted
approach to restoring the local social fabric. Schools and businesses, parks and
streets, all are objects of study and targets for economic as well as social remedies,
like the one underway in Altata. About 30 organizations are involved. They donâ€™t
just look for young people to train, create jobs and restore public spaces, but they
also offer social services, like medical check ups.
LlausÃ¡s dreams of a violenceâ€free CuliacÃ¡n where every young person has the
opportunity for dignified work. It is a dream delayed by events beyond its control. In
2008, CuliacÃ¡n became a battlefield between JoaquÃn GuzmÃ¡nâ€™s Sinaloa Cartel and
his former partners, the BeltrÃ¡n Leyva. Between 2012 and 2015 the blood letting
somewhat diminished but from January 2016, with GuzmÃ¡nâ€™s (third) arrest, and
even more so because of his extradition to the United States, the battle over CuliacÃ¡n
intensified, partly because of the cartelâ€™s internal struggle. Another obstacle has
been the apathy of many people from CuliacÃ¡n. A local reporter observes: â€œThe
violence has been normalized. People tend to respect the narco.â€
LlausÃ¡s thinks long term, however. He mentions MedellÃn, erstwhile bailiwick of
Pablo Escobar and for decades one of the Americasâ€™ most violent of cities. Two years
ago â€“ thanks in large part to private initiative â€“ MedellÃn has seen notable quality of
life improvements at all socioâ€economic levels. It enjoys a reputation as an
innovative city and tourist destination. Closer to home, Ciudad JuÃ¡rez has managed
to achieve a notable reduction in its homicide rate, with the help of social projects
where residents work together with the businesspeople and the authorities.
According to LlausÃ¡s, that is the triple alliance that can most effectively achieve
POSITIVE PEACE IN CULIACÃN
By Javier LlausÃ¡s MagaÃ±a
In 2011, Forbes Magazine published an article with a list of the worldâ€™s fifty most
violent cities according to the Global Peace Index. CuliacÃ¡n placed number 24 on this
list. These facts alarmed me and prompted my own research into the Peace Index,
trying to understand why CuliacÃ¡n made their list. Thatâ€™s why I approached the
Institute for Economy and Peace, a think tank born in Australia as a private sector
initiative. It devotes itself to the analysis of the causes of violence in the world, along
with diagnosing the negative and positive economic impact violence has on
Mexico is one of the three countries that, along with the United States and the
United Kingdom, have a countryâ€level violence study. Mexico uses a standardized
methodology following the model of the Global Peace Index. To calculate Mexicoâ€™s
index, they take into account seven objective indicators including measures of
homicides, crimes committed with fire arms, efficiency of the judicial system, violent
crimes, prisoners awaiting sentencing, financing for the police and crimes
committed by organized criminals.
When I learned about the methodology used to calculate the Peace Index, I knew the
city of CuliacÃ¡n was among the 50 most violent cities in the world given that its
homicide rate per 100,000 residents is one of the worldâ€™s highest. The city of
CuliacÃ¡n has a homicide rate of 42.27 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants,
meaning each year there are about 400 murders. The United States Department of
State calls the city dangerous and capital investment avoids CuliacÃ¡n and Sinaloa;
not even the cityâ€™s public and private sectors are aware of this situation.
Aware of this adverse panorama a group of citizens and businesspeople undertook
different projects, purposefully trying to generate what the Institute of Economy
and Peace calls â€œpositive peace.â€ In summary â€œpositive peaceâ€ may be defined as the
joining together of attitudes, institutions and structures contributing to the creation
and maintenance of peaceful societies.
One of those projects consisted in rescuing one of the beaches most visited by the
inhabitants of the municipalities of CuliacÃ¡n and Navolato: Altata beach. This
initiative managed to succeed by stopping organized crime disposing of corpses on
the beach. It used a special group of elite security police with the help of the
municipal authorities to detain 100 criminals.
To these actions can be added a group of citizens traveling the several kilometers
making up Altata beach in a caravan of cars, a symbolic act showing that this public
family recreation space was back in use, achieving social and family cohesion as
opposed to the violence created by groups of criminals and organized crime.
Currently, each year thousands of people enjoy Altata beach and many of these
small business people generate income for their families. These businesses form a
gastronomic and tourist corridor resulting from the beach rescue at the end of 2011.
We have followed on from these initiatives by coordinating rescues of hundreds of
public parks. Citizens abandoned them because of the increasingly violent climate in
Sinaloa. This violence came about as a result of the fight against drug trafficking
undertaken during the presidency of Felipe CalderÃ³n Hinojosa.
This is the way we have worked on the Happy Parks IAP projectâ€”supported by the
C1 Business Groupâ€”bringing together citizens living near a public park but who
have stopped using it a as a place to relax and socialize. Groups of young
coordinators knock on house doors; leave behind informative brochures, and after
several visits they began to create work teams comprised of neighbors. Later, the
participants begin to recuperate the park little by little, until it is totally restored,
and once again used by all the areaâ€™s neighbors.
Based on the experience of rescuing Altata beach and other projects we coordinate, I
have begun to understand that one of the ways to combat violence is by approaching
citizens with initiatives to recuperate public spaces, looking to generate positive
impact in the way we shape values among children, young people and throughout
the whole population. At the same time, this shapes different attitudes helping to
achieve an atmosphere of greater confidence among the population and the
In sum, I have seen that the union between citizens, business people and academics
is key to ensuring the changes necessary to combat violence; and that not just armed
government security activities reduce violence indicators. The success of the work
we have undertaken lies in converting good social practice into public policy.
United for Baja Californiaâ€™s Disappeared
By Fernando Ocegueda Flores
I write with the enthusiasm, force and decisiveness given to me by the experience of
having to live through lifeâ€changing violence. My son was kidnapped on 10 February
2007. He has not come home. I went to the Public Prosecutor the day it happened
but I had to go to the Investigative Unit for Vehicle Theft Crimes because I had the
bad luck that the violence struck on the weekend. I did not achieve anything that
day. Why? Why did the State Unit for the Crime of Kidnapping not work on
Saturdays and Sundays, as if kidnappings did not take place every day, just like car
robberies? I had to suffer through two long days without information just to file the
complaint where it should have been filed in the first place. I didnâ€™t have to wait the
six hours like people normally do because I had a contact in the Public Prosecutorâ€™s
â€œHe went off with his girlfriend.â€ â€œHeâ€™ll appear soon.â€ â€œHe is acting up.â€ â€œHeâ€™s decided
to go off somewhere for a while.â€ Thatâ€™s what officials say when many of us go to
report a disappearance. I had no success with them. I couldnâ€™t wait so I decided to
try to find him on my own. I had to do something. We made posters and I went
posting them around the city. Back then Facebook still was not that useful for these
types of situations, if it had been I would have shouted on Facebook if somebody
knew something or could have helped me find my son. The search is a long process,
and my depression has never gone away, not even for a moment. Every day I used to
go to the public prosecutorâ€™s and the county coroner (SEMEFO). Maybe I would find
something out. Thatâ€™s how I began to meet people in the same situation. Each time
we got to know each other a little better and we decided to join together hopefully
with the urge to find our family members.
This is how the organization United for the Disappeared in Baja California began to
take shape. We started in Mexicali with a 30â€day sitâ€in to force the authorities to
provide us with the attention our situation required. We managed to secure
assistance from some officials but they only acted superficially and they werenâ€™t
really committed. We managed to create a special prosecutorâ€™s office for
disappearances, but it was just a salve for our pain and not a cure because that office
did not do or achieve anything.
The authorities did not bother and we had to accelerate the rhythm by ourselves. At
the beginning of 2008 we began field searches with what we knew and what we had.
We were poorly prepared for work of this type but that did not matter since
necessity turned us into experts. The years from 2007 to 2009 were ones of much
activism. Then an event suddenly made the state of Baja California pay attention: the
arrest of Santiago Meza â€œEl Pozolero,â€ responsible for having dissolved 300 bodies
in acid for several different criminal groups. Baja California made a circus out of it
and we had to take advantage of how El Pozolero captured peopleâ€™s attention to
make ourselves visible.
Mezaâ€™s statements indicated those places where we might find graves, where we
might find the remains of our disappeared family members. Santiago mentioned
several places where authorities never looked. At the end of 2009 Santiago Mezaâ€™s
testimony arrived in my inbox. Thatâ€™s how citizens began the effort around Loma
Bonita. We contacted the authorities to tell them we had found the Loma Bonita
properties related to Santiago Meza.
Two months later we found a threeâ€meter square grave where 270 bodies were
dissolved in acid. My son and the disappeared family members of my friends could
be there in that play doh of organic material. We had to know. We had to investigate
to be sure to have something from them and put an end to this dark sensation of not
knowing their whereabouts.
We bought the most rudimentary sticks we could find, made from wood so that we
could extract what we could to find something of our family members: teeth, bones,
surgical screws and 16,000 liters of organic material. Thatâ€™s what we had to look
through if we wanted to find them. Everything was taken to Mexico City for DNA
analysis to see if we could relate these to the samples in the DNA bank using the
family members of the disappeared.
Since then, the organizationâ€™s work has focused on making sure that the people who
live with the violence of disappearance do not have to confront so many obstacles
when they file complaints. We focus our efforts so people do not have to fight even
more in this terrible struggle of having a disappeared family member, attempting to
obtain the authoritiesâ€™ assistance. To do this we provide accompaniment in the
process of filing a complaint, so they receive help in the best way possible because
when they go by themselves they do not receive the same level of treatment. We
accompany and assist them in the state judicial branch, in the Executive Commission
to Assist Victims, and in the state attorney general. We go to Mexico City to see
agents from the federal Attorney Generalâ€™s office, the Special Prosecutor for
Organized Crime (Spanish acronym: SEIDO), to the Prosecutor for Victims in the
Attorney Generalâ€™s Office and with the news media. Up to now we have helped with
60 preliminary investigations in federal jurisdiction.
United for Baja Californiaâ€™s Disappeared is a civil society. We managed to form it
when it was still free to register an organization. We have kept it going with support
from business people who are members and who have experienced the same
torment. Currently we have 288 people registered, and of these 40 members are
active. A little while ago we decided to break with the state government since our
meetings were going around in circles and not delivering results. Why keep wasting
valuable time in meaningless meetings that donâ€™t yield without results, without
commitments? However, we have managed to coordinate to an extent with the
federal Attorney Generalâ€™s office. The deputy prosecutor comes to Tijuana
periodically to initiate searches for graves based on anonymous tip offs our
organization receives. We compile complaints by citizens and when we have about
15 cases or places to inspect we send them in a report to the Deputy Prosecutor
telling them about the specific locations they need to search. To do this work,
together with the sub prosecutor, we have drones that help us identify the ground,
and this approach has been useful in finding several graves.
To summarize: United for Baja Californiaâ€™s Disappearedâ€™s work means taking charge
of accompaniment, looking for graves and disappeared people, attending to
anonymous tip offs, analyzing and inspecting pieces of land, collaborating with the
State Congress to help us with the work, pressuring the authorities via the media to
petition based on the problems we saw and about which I now want to talk.
About the problems confronting our organization and its work, after a lengthy
process we obtained a search warrant allowing us to inspect ground based on
anonymous tip offs indicating possible graves. Thatâ€™s what we use when we work
with the deputy district attorney and we pass them reports of complaints we have
collected. However, we have been able to overcome this obstacle almost 99 percent
of the time when it has arisen, simply by speaking with the landowners or
caretakers, asking for their permission to do our work. This represents, without a
doubt, one of the advantages of working together with the prosecutorâ€™s office, since
given the way the agents work, they would not have been able to dialogue with
owners or land administrators to obtain their authorization. The investigative
process seizes up until a search warrant is authorized or denied, leaving everything
up in the air or giving up the possibility of finding disappeared remains and keeping
up the memory of the families affected by this violence. However, with our support
it is possible to add the possibility of dialogue, overcoming the obstacles that can
appear in the search warrant process. The people we have come across have been
generous, and this has allowed us to work. I want to extend my recognition and
gratitude to them.
Moreover, it bears mentioning that many of the families we have supported in this
organization suffer stigmatization, prey upon by apathetic criminal justice and
government officials. We have overcome these difficulties, given that stigma and
apathy diminish the quality of treatment of families who are victim to crime or
human rights violations.
Added to this, within our organization difficult things arise. Many of our members
stop being active in this work because they fall into the despair produced by
impunity and the authoritiesâ€™ lack of interest. Many of our members believe nobody
nor do they want to put any trust in officials or politicians; they are overwhelmed by
anger. Many members have tormented themselves with our failures and have given
up trying. Communication with several of them occurs when it is about a birthday or
when there is some important discovery that has to do with a disappeared family
member. Simply put they have divorced themselves from the organizationâ€™s work. If
one had to underline one of the internal problems of United for the Disappeared in
Baja California, it would be some of its members lose hope and become angry.
With respect to the great initiatives we have proposed, we have suggested enlarging
or standardizing the CODIS system, or the Combined DNA Index System (Spanish
original: Sistema de Ãndice Combinado de ADN). The FBI gave this to Mexico in
2009. A DNA database makes up this system and it could help us more easily
identify many of the cadavers found in various places, like in graves. When this
system is standardized throughout Mexico, I have no doubt we could be one step
ahead of organized crime, having not only the DNA registry for victims, but also of
people in detention, something that would help us resolve many criminal acts in
which they might have been involved.
But, returning to the issue of the disappeared, CODIS would avoid many deplorable
things that have happened regarding the return of victimsâ€™ bodies to their families.
Some families have received a body that does not belong to their family member and
the authorities only realize this sometime after the fact. It is terrible to have
performed religious rites and ceremonies for a dead loved one only to find out that
the body to which you devoted all that care, the one you said goodâ€bye to, the one
you showered with memories that would pertain to the real remains of your family
member if only it werenâ€™t for the authoritiesâ€™ error when identifying the body. Itâ€™s
unacceptable that families have because of an error to go through another hard
experience along with the infamy of disappearance. It is worth asking oneself how
many bodies have been given to families that actually belong to another family of a
Because of these events, and because of what a much larger DNA database would
bring with it, covering more people, we have proposed expanding CODIS. Thatâ€™s how
we might shed light on the identification process that to us seems opaque; so
corpses are not turned over until the identity of the person in question is fully
confirmed. I would like to add to this point that a mechanism or method existed that
enabled us to find between 26 and 28 people. Itâ€™s a photographic collection put
together by SEMEFO (U.S. English translation of Mexican public institution: the
morgue). Family members used to be able to go to a website to look at these photos
to identify the bodies of their family members.
Thatâ€™s how family members managed to avoid having to turn up day after day at the
Medical Examinerâ€™s (original Spanish: SEMEFO) to ask for and try to identify their
loved ones among the bodies that are taken daily to this agency. Itâ€™s a shame this
tool was suspended, using the argument that uploading photos of dead people and
turning them into a type of catalogue was throwing up a bad image. So, an aesthetic
issue meant they threw out something that worked. That argument did not in any
way convince me. I would prefer that families, and especially the mothers, donâ€™t
have to go to such a hard, difficult, exhausting place, like the SEMEFO morgues. It
adds suffering to their pain. For me, itâ€™s a reâ€victimization of the victims. It adds
more suffering, more difficulties, more experiences damaging their mental health,
week after week, trying to find their family member, or several, among the bodies.
In 2009 â€“ and with the same intention â€“ we proposed the creation of a State
Forensic Science Institute (Original Spanish: Instituto Estatal de Ciencia Forense.)
But nobody wanted to take that forward so now we are proposing in addition to the
national CODIS system a National Forensic Sciences Institute to advance a protocol
based on scientific studies and methods to deal with graves, undertaking searches
and the DNAâ€identification process. This type of institution could position the
country as one of the most developed for forensic sciences, like Austriaâ€™s Forensic
Medical Institute at the University of Innsbruck.
Hereâ€™s another point. We also think the General Victims Law should be applied
throughout the Republic. It should be a General Law dealing with all different levels
of government, promulgating clearer and broader local victimsâ€™ laws able to deal
with harms caused by crime and human rights violations. We think this integration
ought to be completed as promptly as possible and, in as much, I would like to ask
local Congresses in the states that have not yet promulgated a law about this issue,
to make sure they have this law. It is something needed throughout the regions of
We are also proposing drastic improvements in the way public prosecutors treat
people. Their service and the way salaried officials attend people are
overwhelmingly deplorable. Never is there a single expression of professionalism,
maturity, seriousness, prudence or sensibility from officials who are meant to attend
to people. The mere fact of going to an office presents problems. Contrary to
professional standards in these places reign insults, lack of interest, joking around,
impersonal treatment, sarcasm, and apathy. These are the worst ways to attend to a
person who hopes to obtain justice and support, bringing meaning to the law. We
really should take seriously the fundamental function performed by our public
prosecutors to secure justice and prosecute crime. It is a key institution that needs
good officials. We cannot allow workers in these places to scoff at the adversities
facing people and distance themselves from demands for justice. What type of
professional responds to a sonâ€™s disappearance with, â€œfor sure heâ€™s gone off with his
These types of comment or responses to the misfortune of the population
demonstrate officialsâ€™ absolute disrespect towards citizens, the functions they
discharge, and our institutions. As a consequence, we have proposed that those who
work in public prosecutorsâ€™ offices should be reâ€evaluated and, in each case,
replaced by professional people trained in psychology and emotions.
Similarly, we proposed and achieved reducing the time required before presuming
death of a missing person to two years. Before this reform, the waiting period to
secure recognition of the disappeared person as legally dead was six years. This
came about because of negotiations with the Baja California Congress and our
constant activism. At the end of the day we are also driven by the need to sensitize
young people to Mexicoâ€™s violence, and in improving things to combat it.
Throughout the time I have been looking for my son I have felt overwhelmed by my
situation. I have overcome this feeling because I want to know where he is and
because of the energy of the other people who are joining together in the hope of a
common achievement: locating our loved ones. Thatâ€™s the shape of things happening
to me as I formed this organization, United for Baja Californiaâ€™s Disappeared. The
authorities abandoned my companions and me. We felt alone. I just had the need to
find out what happened to my son. I donâ€™t know where the bravery came from for
everything I have had to do. Perhaps it came by itself, but I have always had it. Never
at any moment have I lost that.
In spite of the death threats forcing me to leave my house at times, my valor is not
diminished and I continue the work. A little time after I did I return to my homeâ€”
the one I never wanted to leaveâ€”because I had, and maybe I still have, the hope that
my son will return home. Thatâ€™s why I did not want and never want to be in any
other place when he possibly returns home.
All of this has kept me busy. Sometimes I think that maybe it has helped me not go
crazy. Being able to help people, understanding them and guiding them along this
difficult murky path, exhausted by various authorities and offices, it calms me, helps
me, makes me feel better. It has helped as therapy, offering me relief while helping
Anger and fortitude brings us to this struggle, to mobilize, to propose some things,
to succeed with others, to help us confront and vanquish violence, to unmask it, and
to punish it, to avoid it and to help others avoid it. We have to complain about our
institutionsâ€™ inefficiencies facing that violence and to propose remedies to overcome
it. Thatâ€™s why we never leave activism behind, drowning in the hopelessness
impunity produces. We continue, heads above water! Working on this! This is our
life and we are sure that we are constructing something valuable from it. We are
smothering this countryâ€™s violence because we must not let it suffocate us.
Alexandra DÃ©lano Alonso (New School for Social Research)
I want to express my profoundest respect as I recognize the social activists and
people who have taken their tireless struggle right to ground level. They have made
their voices heard so society knows what is going on throughout the country, so that
government and society recognize our responsibility.
The struggle responds to the powerful need to search out responses, to create
spaces dignifying victims, to create protocols, laws and institutional infrastructure
to respond to those who have spent years and years waiting for justice; so that
victims join together and do not confront the same situation where they are seen as
delinquents or their family members not recognized. Their complaints are as much a
vision of the present as of the future in which nobody should have to live with the
pain marking them. Their struggle is a call to rescue our lost spaces, the spaces given
up to fear and the horror of violence, spaces where they can imagine and create
responses to reconstruct the social fabric, rescue a vision of community, to weave
together a different present, other futures.
Listening to the affected and the victims is a first step to construct a peace conveying
multiple meanings. Javier Sicilia said as much in his address in the capitalâ€™s ZÃ³calo
on April 17, 2011:
These are those fissures, those open wounds, and they are unlike the big
cracks in our house. These fissures are the ones that are making us us walk
all the way here, interweaving our silence with our pain, so we can directly
confront them to tell them they have to learn to see and to listen, that they
need to name all our dead. To say to them that crime kills in three ways: it
takes their lives, it turns them into criminals and it buries them in mass
common graves with an ominous silence not our own. So we are here to tell
them that our presence names the infamous reality that the political class,
the soâ€called legitimate powers with their sinister monopolies, the
hierarchies of economic and religious powers, the governments and police
forces have denied and still want to deny.
How can we create mechanisms to listen with dignity, with empathy, with actions to
the voices of an organized community and the voices of individuals? Who has to
listen to them and whatâ€™s the message? What is there to listen to and how to listen to
it? How do we make sure these dialogues arenâ€™t a simulation but a permanent space
to reâ€imagine and rebuild?
Carlos Fong laments that we have not managed until now to build a nationwide
movement for peace in spite of the great announcement to unite behind the
movement of victimsâ€™ families in 2011. But in spite of these limits to national
mobilizing what the testimonies in this book bring together and show is that for
some time local level movements and solutions have sprung up. To understand
these actions, to support them and to start others, we speak to each other about the
mentality of citizens: to listen to understand how citizens perceive things, their
emotions, to whom they confide and how they search for solutions. Peace does not
mean the same thing everywhere.
How to listen? Javier LlausÃ¡sâ€™ work in Sinaloa shows us the importance of rescuing a
participatory democracy where the community makes the decisions. Their vision
also reflects the movementâ€™s urgency in the moment we are living and the need to
work on solutions now and not lose ourselves in the debate: we must be practical.
He also shows us that solutions come from multiâ€sector alliances; we need to put the
pieces of a puzzle together with participation from all levels of government,
business people, academics, social activists, journalists, news media, and ordinary
To talk about violence â€“ about violences â€“ makes us focus on multiple causes:
originally economic, social and political, what violences are present and how they
persist. At what moment can one talk about peace and reconciliation if violence
continues, if it manifests itself in so many ways? The timeliness of the replies and
proposed solutions responds to the urgency from seeing more and more people
added each day to the figures of 100,00 dead, 28,000 disappeared and 300,000
people displaced, but also it responds to a longer horizon searching for structural
solutions. The social activists and victims families who donâ€™t give in to the
exhaustion of the struggle and the pain of repeating their story time and again,
making it clear to us that we canâ€™t wait, that we have to listen and respond, now and
later, on every possible front.
Fundamental changes have happened to the lives of the families of hundreds of
thousands of dead, disappeared, displaced and exiled. Their plans, their futures, are
on hold. They are in the struggle. But they are also in the limbo of not knowing the
whereabouts of their disappeared family member. They are in the permanent pain
provoked by the lack of justice over a femicide, a homicide or the neverâ€ending
search for the disappeared. Life is on hold. And to construct that which some call
culture and a peace economy we have to repair the immeasurable damage directly
touching incomplete families, but that also touches all of us as a community. We
cannot wait for the violences to end.
Thousands of families continue confronting abuse, discrimination and unfulfilled
promises. We have to talk about the grief they live and the grief we share as a
society. To listen to the families, cry over our dead, they are part of the process of
understanding how we have been untying the threads binding us together as a
community. Listening just like journalist Rossanna Reguillo describes, allows us to
construct solidarity permanently tying the community closer together; that bond
allowing us to reconstruct the social fabric.
There are concrete efforts to advance reparation, reconstruction, reconciliation and
public space recuperation projects. Going out to protest, sitting in a plaza to sew,
renaming a street, painting a mural, repurposing a piece of land or a park for a place
to grieve, a place for families to go and a place of truce for everybody. Places of
memory, like those described by Fernando Ocegueda in Tijuana allow us to listen
and understand what happened there, remember it, grieve over it, and also
understand why it keeps happening. In the areas where the Pozolero dissolved
bodies, places families are looking to take over to dignify victimsâ€™ memories, poverty
is evident, the lack of opportunities, absence of solidarity between victims and
communities, and the constant, watching, menacing presence of organized crime.
Thatâ€™s where we learn to listen, to see, and to create spaces where dialogues never
stop. Spaces where young people can find possibilities, spaces where communities
come together. The ones that arenâ€™t the neverâ€ending wait in the waiting room of the
Public Prosecutorâ€™s office where people first meet each other and share their pain
and the urgency of trying to do something.
If we listen, if we overcome that pain â€“ like those who have kept on fighting against
impunity and corruption â€“ we can identify the journeys tracing the construction of
positive peace, like LlausÃ¡s says. The changes are gradual, steps toward an end that
needs not only a willing government but also all societyâ€™s members. The resources
and presence to rescue spaces: the park, the beach, and driedâ€up grassy areas.
Changes in a news media discourse reproducing violence, just like the changes
accomplished by Silvia NÃºÃ±ez and many other women. Search warrants reinforcing
forensic efforts among citizens. Legal definitions of crimes established in protocols.
The search for and recovery of human remains where the responsibility to provide
evidence and facts does not rest only on those most affected, the victims who have
had to learn languages and activities they should never have needed to learn in the
Family members donâ€™t have to be the ones made to buy pickâ€axes to recover human
remains dissolved in acid from mass graves. They donâ€™t have to be the ones who risk
their lives excavating and looking for human remains in the hills; they donâ€™t have to
be the ones receiving death threats for a street protest as they search for answers.
They do so because officials do not respond, or if they do get around to it they either
do a poor job or are late. We have lost trust in the stateâ€™s institutions and even so we
still have to think about the different components making up the state and identify
those examples in some places of collaboration between society, government and
institutions. It is from those places, from these tenacious examples of creativity and
of community where hope exists, where they teach and make demands on the
government, the stateâ€™s institutions and society about how to listen to us, about how
to bring meaning to the peace we are committed to.
RAYMUNDO RAMOS, THE RESISTANT
Raymundo Ramos is the last one left.
Twenty years ago dozens of men and women were doing similar work, but the war
brought about their end. What happened to them is what happens to most of the
inhabitants of this dry scar called Tamaulipas: some were murdered, others forced
to move away, and the rest silenced. But not Raymundo. In his own words he is the
last human rights defender at the forefront and in the middle of the resistance here.
Officially, every eight hours a corpse appears in Tamaulipas.
If somebody asks him why he is the only activist in the whole state who intercedes
on behalf of his neighbors when the military commit abuses, Raymundoâ€”45 years
old, roundâ€faced, with a honed lookâ€”pauses then speaks about the case marking
him most: MartÃn and Bryan Almanza in 2010. The two children, five and nine years
old, were murdered as their family headed towards the beach for a vacation in
Matamoros, in the north of the state. The soldiersâ€™ version was that the brothers
died from grenade shrapnel. It exploded when crossfire trapped the family car
between soldiers and cartel gunmen. Their mother, who survived the attack, wanted
to prove the army was lying and her best card to play against them was Raymundo,
the head of the Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo.
When the activist saw the photographs of the supposed confrontation and read the
first official reports, he knew the military was covering up a crime. He used
experience earned during his youth as a crime beat reporter in the local newspaper,
El MaÃ±ana, and the subsequent 13 years as a human rights defender challenging
power. Militarization in Tamaulipas had begun in 2000 under former president
Vicente Fox, exploding in 2006 when Felipe CalderÃ³n began the war against
organized crime. He had sharpened his nose looking for good leads in the case files
related to torture, extrajudicial murders and forced disappearances. Thatâ€™s how this
diligent leading sleuth became aware of the urgency of digging up the truth.
Raymundo did what he always does when somebody asks him for help: go to where
it happened, talk to witnesses, obtain official accounts, speak with the National
Human Rights Commission so that its investigators work closely with him. After
months of searching, he found the evidence needed to prove at least four soldiers
had intentionally shot the children. Martin had two bullet wounds, and Bryan three,
almost all shot point blank. They gave an incomprehensible reason: how could they
mistake the unarmed Almanza family for criminals?
Thatâ€™s how the activist exposes the system. Fatherless since the age of six, son of an
illiterate mother with six children, he holds a degree in Communication Sciences; he
paid for it on the salary he once earned in a factory, and he used all this training and
experience to ensure three attorney generalsâ€”for the State of Tamaulipas, the
Federal Republic, and the Armed Forcesâ€”admitted protecting childâ€killing soldiers,
had covered it up, and owed the victims reparations.
Raymundo secured a sliver of justice for MartÃn and Bryan, just as he had done for
Carlos N. his first case as an activist. Carlos was 16 years old when Nuevo Laredo
officers murdered him in the municipal police cells, trying to make it pass for
suicide. He did the same for Neiser CÃ¡mara, the 25â€year old youngster killed by
Marines in the same city. Just like he has done the same for hundreds, perhaps
thousandsâ€”he says he has already lost countâ€”since 1997 when he began this
vocation, one that has lead to recognition from influential organizers like Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch.
But few who fight so forcefully find themselves free from enemies. Raymundo has
powerful enemies. They have threatened him in every possible way to stop him
working. Those threats, he says, come from the armed forces, soldiers or marines.
They see his work as irritating. Even so, they have not been able to force him from
Nuevo Laredo and nor do they dent his hope of a peaceful Tamaulipas. Those he
protects say it would take a battalion as long as the RÃo Bravo to drown his
But towards the middle of February 2017 something changed in Raymundoâ€™s voice.
A social media hate campaign raged against him, one he thought waged by the army.
â€œI am worriedâ€”he saidâ€”not just for myself but also for my wife and our four
children.â€ In spite of that, he isnâ€™t ready to leave the state, not even with the 16th
Cavalry Regiment, the alleged center of the threats, at 15 minutes walking distance
from his office in the dangerous La Joya neighborhood.
Thatâ€™s what it is like to be front and center of the resistance, Raymundo says.
â€œSomebody has to stay to defend human rights; if I leave, who knows who will do
this work.â€ Thatâ€™s why, for now, he continues traveling Tamaulipas in his old truck,
without guards protecting him, trying to stop the army from abusing its power.
He is going to keep being the Raymundo uncowed by war. The last human rights
By Raymundo Ramos
A little after midday on June 5, 2016 I went with my wife and two children to vote in
one of the 587 voting stations in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The weather forecast
the night before warned of rainstorms but in the end it rained not even a drop.
The week before the deficiencies characterizing the state of Tamaulipas and
kidnappings and disappearances had been put aside after the within 24â€hour
â€œrescueâ€ of a famous soccer player (Alan Pulido). The state governorâ€”at the time
his hair a messâ€”and his public security cabinet presented news media with the
soccer player â€œhealthy and safe so that they might see he was okay.â€ The
â€œintelligence operationâ€ was the reason for the rescue, the Governor said: the tight
collaboration between the Tamaulipas authorities and Mexicoâ€™s federal government.
But now we are all aware it was really part of a strategy by perverse people to
influence voters, giving the PRI a preference in the elections.
But it didnâ€™t work for them. Just like the dirty war waged during Tamaulipasâ€™s
election season didnâ€™t work for them. It was orchestrated from the highest levels of
political power in Mexico. Its mastermind is former senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones.
While they handed me three ballots I was thinking about my family, my friends, my
work colleagues and my neighbors who today are disappeared or were murdered in
an ongoing war of exactly 15 years in Tamaulipas. Now there are 20,000 victims and
thousands of casualties. Principally among those are our daughters and sons.
It is well known Tamaulipas is not seen as a failed state, even though ingovernability
characterizes it. Since 2010 we have taken the number one spot in kidnappings,
disappearances, homicides, extortions and attacks on journalists. For example, 2014
saw the launch of the National Register of Missing or Disappeared People (original
Spanish: Registro Nacional de Datos de Personas Extraviadas o Desaparecidas),
facilitating awareness of one of the most terrible of the realities provoked by the
violence. In a total of 22,322 people recorded as disappeared as of December 2013,
Tamaulipas occupied first place with 4,875 cases, higher than other states like
Jalisco, with 2,113 or the State of Mexico (Original Spanish: EDOMEX) with 1,554.
Much of the violence we lived through in Tamaulipas occurred between 2003 and
2013. A decade of barbarity, massacres, kidnappings and disappearances committed
not only by members of organized crime, but also by federal forces and, of course,
the accredited state police (original Spanish: â€œPolicÃa Estatal Acreditableâ€). But the
violence had political origins: a breakdown in PRI rule followed by uncertainty
surrounding PAN state governments ever the more fearful of an organized society
In 2000 the whole country thought Mexico had become democratic, given Vicente
Foxâ€™s victory over the traditional PRI dictatorship. But in reality it loosed demons
forcing out the traditional and regional caciques (English translation: political boss),
creating groups or cells of organized crime, and even bringing together the big
cartels, the ones challenging Mexicoâ€™s state.
The caciques of yesteryear began by charging union dues, but then they began to
offer institutional protection to alcohol and foreign cigarette makers, smugglers of
clothes, cars, electrical appliances and smallâ€time thieves. Organized crime
eventually forced these caciques out, and began to sell the protection to those who
committed kidnappings, extortions, controlled drug sales, prostitution, people
trafficking and foreign merchandise smuggling. One of the first signs of change,
seemingly inoffensive at first, was the opening of the border to arms trafficking.
During Ernesto Zedilloâ€™s presidency, the customsâ€™ traffic lights at the international
bridges sent for inspection eight of every ten vehicles headed into our country from
the United States. Vicente Fox inverted that number: eight vehicles out of ten greenâ€
lighted at the customsâ€™ lights with just two inspected. Eliminating corruption at
customs was the reason the new president gave for damaging the economy of our
borderâ€dwelling countrymen. There were never any sanctions for those responsible
However, this relaxing of customs inspections increased smuggling and gun
trafficking to states with social conflicts like MichoacÃ¡n, Guerrero, Oaxaca or
Veracruz, and not to mention Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, Nuevo LeÃ³n, Sinaloa and
Jalisco. When former president Felipe CalderÃ³n Hinojosa declared war against
organized crime and put the army on the streets on December 11, 2006, half of the
country and principally the drug traffickers were already armed. The bloodbath had
barely started. As CalderÃ³nâ€™s presidential term ended, official statistics spoke of
more than 120,000 people killed and at least 20,000 disappeared.
Here, in memory of the victims from the state of Tamaulipas, I want to write about
some of them because they are still in our hearts and prayers.
Roberto Mora GarcÃa directed a newspaper in Nuevo Laredo. He was assassinated in
March 2004. He was punched 26 times. He was a critical voice against then
Tamaulipas governor, TomÃ¡s Yarrington Ruvalcaba, because of his ties to organized
crime. Today the United States government seeks Yarrington for trial.1 In Mexico, no
officials are looking for him.
Guadalupe Escamilla, journalist, was murdered in April 2005. A neverâ€toâ€be
identified attacker shot her fourteen times early one morning as she arrived at the
radio station where she worked.
1 Translator note: Mexico extradited Yarrington for trial in the United States in
Do you remember MartÃn and Bryan Almanza Salazar, two children from Nuevo
Laredo going to the beach in Matamoros with their family in April 2010? They
crossed a military check point in Ciudad Mier and then, inexplicably, a group of
soldiers began to fire on the truck carrying their father, mother and cousins. What
was the official story? First, silence, then a cover up of the tragedy. Then pushing
them to one side, and lynching them in the media. Finally a justification: â€œthey were
trapped in crossfire between officials and delinquents.â€ According to the Ministry of
Defense they were â€œcollateral damage.â€
I also remember when doÃ±a Cinthia Salazar, mother of the two boys interviewed
then president Felipe CalderÃ³n in his official residence of Los Pinos: â€œI demand
justice and a public apology.â€ We are still waiting for those two things.
In August 2010 in San Fernando, Tamualipas, 72 bodies were discovered: 58 men
and 14 women. All were migrants from Central America. Only Godâ€™s mercy allowed
two victims to survive the brutal massacre. â€œInvestigationsâ€ by federal authorities
managed to secure the arrest of several people considered responsible. The
investigations never touched the officials responsible for protecting our migrant
friends as they crossed Mexican territory on the way to the United States.
How were the kidnappings of more than 70 people possible without any authority
being aware of them? Neither the state police, nor the federal police knew of the
kidnappings. How do the nationâ€™s intelligence services work? What are federal
public security officers doing when they guard highways and railways?
Seventy migrants from San Fernando werenâ€™t the only ones kidnapped. Organized
crime intercepted dozens of buses on different highways in Tamaulipas. They took
men, women, and children alike. But the administrations of President Felipe
CalderÃ³n and Governor Egidio Torre stayed silent; hiding what was happening until
the barbarity exploded.
In fact, many kept silent out of fear, complicity and because they didnâ€™t give a damn:
bus companies, journalists, political parties, religious organizations, universities,
and even the U.S. governmentâ€”all were aware of what was going on and, save some
occasions, only issued alerts so their citizens would not travel on Tamaulipasâ€™s
On January 27, 2011, an engineer, Alejandro Alfonso Moreno Vaca left Mexico City
headed towards Laredo, Texas. He was driving a Honda and he did not make it to his
destination. He was kidnapped on a federal highway on the state line between
Nuevo LeÃ³n and Tamaulipas. Authorities investigating the case have not been able
to find him. Two months later, on March 27, AndrÃ©s AscensiÃ³n GonzÃ¡lez y Braulio
HernÃ¡ndez Bravo left Chignahuapan in Puebla heading to the border at Nuevo
Laredo. Armed men intercepted them as they left Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Even now,
their whereabouts remain unknown.
From examples like these and to defend and promote human rights, the Nuevo
Laredo Human Rights Committee (original in Spanish: ComitÃ© de Derechos
Humanos de Nuevo Laredo, A.C.) was created in August 1997. Our countryâ€™s
overwhelming violence in the years I have mentioned turned us into lawyers,
psychologists, mediators and eventually victims, accompanied by pain.
Today we are the only surviving group in Tamaulipas. And that is thanks to the
collaboration and protection of national and international organizations defending
human rights like CADHAC, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others. If it wasnâ€™t for
these sister organizations, I would have been imprisoned long ago, exiled, or in the
worse case even dead.
In 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 we were victims of grave threats by the Army and
the Marines, as well as organized crime. This made us request the â€œinterventionâ€ of
the Protective Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.
Unfortunately, the judicial and legislative branches have left us all alone in this fight
against injustice and abuses by our authorities.
I think there is a big lesson in all this: thousands of brave women and men
throughout the state participated as citizens to expel the PRI from government in
Tamaulipas and, with that, fight for a new era for our families. A new era of peace
and tranquility helping us overcome a decade of violence, pain and death.
Fernando Nieto Morales, El Colegio de MÃ©xico
Trust does not exist that much in Mexico. The figures have been talked about before
but itâ€™s worth repeating them here. According to a study complementing this report
about the quality of citizenship in Mexico completed by Fernanda Somuano and
myself (â€œCitizenship in Mexico: An Active Citizenry?â€ Instituto Nacional Electoral
2016), on the one hand Mexicans trust in their family members a great deal (66
percent say they trust them a lot). But, on the other hand, 77 percent say they do not
trust most people. We also proposed a thought experiment: â€œIf you were to lose your
wallet or purse with 500 pesos in it, is it likely or unlikely it would be returned if the
owner could be found?â€ So, for example, if a family member found the wallet in
question, 90 percent of the people interviewed estimate its likely recovery.
Conversely, 33 percent believe that it probable or more than likely to be recovered if
found by a neighbor. Only 16 percent thought it would be recovered if found by a
In clear contrast to the great amount of trust Mexicans place in their families, the
trust vested in others and particularly in state institutions and organizations is
extremely low. For example, in the same study, only 7 out of 100 said they have
confidence in the federal government; 4 out of 100 have confidence in the police,
and 2 out of 100 said they barely trusted political parties and Members of Congress.
Conversely, 54 out of 100 said they did not trust at all political parties or Members
of Congress. Approximately 41 percent said they did not trust the police at all, 32
percent said they did not trust the federal government and 28 percent did not trust
In light of the lack of credibility in the political class, the meager results in the
political economy and, as important, the terrifying number of human rights
violations, ineffectiveness in matters of public safety and the patent corruption of
the police, judges, political parties and other institutions, it may be that this pattern
of mistrust comes as no surprise. But the issue is still very grave although these days
it doesnâ€™t attract much attention.
The problem of public trust (defined as the confidence placed in people or
organizations who do not share immediate ties to us, as is the case with police or
judges) has taken up hundreds of pages and an army of scientists and social
thinkers. Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of sociology, for example, considered
a society a â€œsociological monsterâ€ if it comprised a large number of disorganized and
untrusting individuals that a hyperâ€atrophied state saw as being forced to repress
and contain (The Division of Social Work, 1893). From this Durkheim wanted to say
that a society with a low degree of solidarity â€“ to use Durkheimian terminology â€“
would soon confront serious problems. In particular, when the state and public
institutions inspire little confidence and because of this turn themselves into far off
entities, partial and intermittent, the institutional mechanisms of regulation
favoring social cooperation tend to be less than effective. That is because mistrust
erodes the structures linking individuals to the community. And there is an everâ€
widening break separating the private sphere (and, as a result, of the private groupâ€™s
interests) from that of the public sphere (this concerns us all because it is useful and
accessible to all).
Public trust is important. It is necessary for the effectiveness and efficiency in
services, public policy, political participation and all types of transactions between
citizens and state organizations. In this sense, and without entering into too many
conceptual complexities, public trust can be understood as the level of certainty that
people have in others to behave predictably, in a way that is not opportunist, nor
solely motivated by private interest and that rather reflects norms and shared
principles (lawfulness, honesty, generosity, etc.). Public trust, however, refers to a
double expectation: that people are capable of taking decisions and that these
decisions need to consider other peoplesâ€™ wellbeing. Violation of these expectations
reduces trust and eventually generates mistrust. Mistrust, as Lynne G. Zucker says,
arises when a suspicion exists that the violation of trust in one episode will repeat
itself on other occasions in the future. Once, for example, individuals suspect judges
as partisan followed by having their suspicions confirmed, it seems reasonable
people end up mistrusting the courts.
Having arrived at this point, two more are in order. First, the lack of public trust has
pernicious effects for the citizens themselves. To begin with, a lack of trust increases
the needs for formalization and control, and that increases the cost of transactions
(for example, making government action and control of it more complicated).
Possibly many of the entanglements and abuses happening when interacting with
the state could be avoided if we were prepared to reduce the controls we have
imposed upon it. Clearly those controls are a product of mistrustâ€”and in Mexicoâ€™s
case mistrust confirmed by a wellâ€known miscellany of violations, injustices, cases
of corruption and incompetenceâ€”.
Second: the problem of private or privatized trust (as opposed to public trust) is
that it does not necessarily contribute to what theorists call â€œsocial capital.â€ This
refers to the capacity for cooperation springing from trustâ€™s social prevalence. Social
capital constructs itself by means of mechanisms that produce what we usually call
good will, disposition or companionship. That is to say, social capital implies links
that all members of a society cooperate among themselves on a voluntary basis and
in a sustained way. Social capital reduces conflict and makes possible democratic
ways of participation and links to the state. Public trust consolidated around social
capital allows network formation and complex social institutions. Mistrust costs us
in security, wellbeing, satisfaction and development.
The â€œcrisis of confidenceâ€ in which we have spent several years has not passed by
unnoticed by our authorities and representatives. It will be sufficient to review
briefly that this subject, above all else, the imperative of â€œrecuperating public trustâ€
is repeated time and time again in discourses and initiatives. Why have the
encouragements and demands designed to rebuild trust not been effective? I
suspect at least two explanations. The first and the most obvious is that the efforts
to recharge trust have been overcome on different fronts from shoddy execution by
the Mexican state. Put clearly, it is difficult to recharge public trust when reality
gives reasons not to do so: almost 30,000 disappeared, more than 150,000 deaths
related to the war on drugs in its first ten years, more than 26,000 femicides in
fourteen years, several governors and corrupt officials are on the lam and have not
been punished, and then comes a lengthy etcetera.
The second no less important reason is that the great efforts to recharge trust have
been characterized until now as legal reforms. Let me explain: supposedly most of
the efforts seem to grapple with rule changes arguing that, if we change the rules,
the problems will be solved and, thus, we can restore trust. The inconvenient thing
about this suppositional chain is that it rests, at the same time, on the idea that
changes in the formal rules governing a society (things like constitutions and laws)
are alone enough to restore confidence. The issue is that the effectiveness of laws
also depends on public trust.
That is a circular argument destroying itself: to earn public trust we have to change
laws, but for that change to be effective we have to count on public support. Does
that mean changes in the law are futile? Not necessarily, but who wants to say that
they are, at the very least, insufficient?
How, then, do we restore the publicâ€™s trust? In general terms we are aware of at
least three mechanisms â€œproducingâ€ trust: the creation of trust using peoplesâ€™
characteristics, through the history of people interacting with institutions (compare
with Thomas, â€œMaintaining and Restoring Public Trustâ€¦â€), and the adoption of
social institutions for support. Each one of these mechanisms has its logic but all of
them, in principle, must reduce mistrust and increase confidence.
The first refers to the creation of trust via peopleâ€™s characteristics; that is to say,
aspects like sex, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or political affiliation. These
characteristics serve as community indicators. The idea is that people with similar
characteristics tend to trust more among themselves than people with dissimilar
characteristics. The problem is the type of trust that springs from this process does
not necessarily generate social capital required of large, complex and diverse
societies like our own.
The second mechanismâ€”the more promisingâ€”refers to that trust springing from
the history of exchanges between people and institutions. In this case, the nature of
the interaction between individuals tends to generate expectations that, with time,
allow movement from mere private interest to a cooperationâ€favoring framework. I
mean, that it generates trust. The idea is that the exchanges people have with the
state, for example, donâ€™t just have a utilitarian value (for example, securing a license,
permit, or governmental support), but that they also have a relational value. The
form in which one perceives interactions with the government affects expectations
about the future. If the interactions one has with the police may be summed up by
incompetence and coercion, it is more than likely that future interactions will be
characterized as incompetent and coercive, and these interactions will also be
viewed as suspicious. Rather, if the history of future interactions with the police is
characterized by aptitude and effectiveness, generating and maintaining confidence
Finally, the third mechanism refers to the confidence coming from adopting and
being supported by social institutions. This last mechanism is linked to the adoption
of laws, but it also refers to their application and fulfillment. It also refers to
processes that make institutions impartial and that therefore generate expectations
of predictability and trustworthiness. The idea is that as societies become more
complex and diverse, public trust is difficult to achieve on the basis of an individualâ€™s
characteristics or exchanges between specific people. To create trust societies
establish the â€œrules of the game.â€ Thus, for example, officials generate trust because
a social expectation exists that rules and professional norms regulate their behavior,
guaranteeing among other things, their good execution.
My point, in referring to these mechanisms, is twofold. On the one hand to me it
appears obvious creating public trust is a complex task, and that, from what we
know of it, depends on many efforts on many fronts and does not just involve the
State: it also involves citizens, academics, news media, and the organization of civil
society. Legal change is ineffective if compliance does not come with it. On the other
hand, it is important to point out that trust can be (re)built. This is not a minor
point. In the face of devastating violence, meanness and ineptitude, it is important to
insist on mechanisms we can turn to produce and sustain public trust. Several of
this bookâ€™s examples illustrate that.
To reâ€conquer trust in a country like Mexico is undoubtedly an extraordinarily
complex task. But I donâ€™t say that because it is worth covering things up. In spite of
the enormous social, economic and political costs associated with mistrust, there is
something worse than incomplete initiatives: complicity with the status quo and an
absence of will.
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What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.