Mexico’s new administration said it will spend $9.2 billion this year on social programs meant to keep young people from joining criminal organizations in the 251 most violent towns and neighborhoods across the country.
Analysts said the strategy, to be carried out by nine federal departments coordinated by a new Interagency Commission for the Prevention of Violence and Criminality, marked an important change in tone but not necessarily in the day-to-day reality of Mexico’s battle against drug cartels, said DallasNews.com.
“They’re going to throw a lot of money at a lot of programs. That is ground for skepticism,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst and former high-ranking official in Mexico’s national intelligence agency. “The level of specificity is not there yet. I find this disconcerting.”
Officials released a partial list of the communities to be targeted by the program, which range from violent Acapulco to the relatively peaceful city of Oaxaca. Efforts would include better park grounds and lighting; improved health and social services; services to find jobs for single mothers; more arts and culture in schools; job creation through road improvement projects; a national campaign to promote a “culture of peace” by lowering school and domestic violence, and preventing and treating drug addiction.