This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

FBI "capacity building" in Chiapas

For me, the term "capacity building" has always held a certain air of UN-esque newspeak for, "let's spend some tax payers' money, teach some people in developing countries a thing or two, and then leave before they get the picture."

And I normally wouldn't match the FBI with capacity building, especially in the last place anyone seems to do anything constructive: Chiapas, Mexico.

For a long time, I've talked about why Mexico needs help controlling its southern border, where most of the immigrants from Central America, and the rest of the world, pass through before entering into the maze of violence, corruption, and possible desert death that Mexico has become for illegal immigrants.

Chiapas is the state where many immigrants first meet the harsh realities of making it to El Norte, and by a long margin, Chiapas is one of the poorest and most often forgotten states in Mexico when it comes to federal attention.

Enter the FBI.

On 3 March, FBI agents began a week long "capacity building" class for investigators who work with the Chiapas state Attorney General's office. The class, "Criminal Intelligence Analysis", will offer instruction on developing informants, interview and interrogation techniques, threat evaluation, organized criminal profiling, the intelligence process (not sure what that means), and phone call analysis - among other items on a long list of things to cover in just one week.

What strikes me as the most interesting aspect of this class is that here we have a perfect example of police training other police. There is no military involvement here. In a region that is littered with bodies due to using the military in the role traditionally defined for police forces, Mexico stands out as a country where there is a deeply entrenched need for security sector reform and a professionalization of the police forces.

This FBI class takes a small but exemplary step in that direction. Bravo.

1 comment:

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