Mexico has finally woken up to its own home-grown “terrorists,” namely the drug cartelistas (“Mexico to boost phone and e-mail taps with U.S. aid.” May 25, 2007). As a counter-tactic to these gangs, President Felipe Calderon asserts that his security forces should have the ability to wiretap phones and access e-mails of Mexican citizens without judicial approval in order to protect Mexico from these “terrorists.”
However, the President always has had this ability, albeit with a constitutional mandate requiring a judge’s approval. But as the Bush Administration fights its own War on Terror with unwarranted wiretaps, Calderon wants to follow suit. In addition, there are reports that Mexico will share its illegally acquired information with its northern neighbor, who is funding the operation. Although this proposal is supposedly aimed at combating gangs and drug traffickers, given Mexico’s decades of political skullduggery, who’s to say the government can resist peering into other political activities or the opposition’s plans? If Calderon had clear and unassailable intentions, judicial approval would pose no barrier. Why does the president want to open this Pandora’s Box?
Just as President Bush has corrupted the executive office into an all-powerful entity that barely tolerates precedence and the law, and raids the functions of the legislative and judicial branches, Mexico’s president also wants the ability to eavesdrop on his fellow citizens in the name of combating drugs. What happened to a system of checks and balances? Calderon’s claim that this policy is needed to “…turn the tide in the battle against the drug gangs” is just self-serving rhetoric. Instead of gaining additional powers, first see why the current intelligence gathering system isn’t working; perhaps because it is busy pushing drugs.