HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Mexico's New President Vowing To Fight
Pubdate: Thu, 01 Feb 2001
Source: National Public Radio
Show: Morning Edition
Copyright: 2001 National Public Radio
Host: Bob Edwards
Reporter: Carrie Kahn



Mexico's President Vicente Fox is on a national crusade against crime. Last 
week he declared war on the country's notorious drug traffickers. Yesterday 
he announced he's taking on corruption in the nation's law enforcement 
system. Fox, who last year ousted Mexico's long-running PRI party, says 
it's going to take time to stamp out widespread abuse, but he's urging the 
nation's citizens to take an active role in the fight. Carrie Kahn of 
member station KPBS reports from Tijuana.

CARRIE KAHN reporting:

Fox's national anti-crime crusade comes on the heels of an embarrassing 
prison escape by one of Mexico's most notorious drug kingpins.  The 
breakout highlighted the depth of corruption and the power of criminals 
that Fox must deal with.  Seemingly undeterred, the president headed for 
Tijuana, one of Mexico's most violent cities, to continue his dramatic 

President VICENTE FOX (Mexico): We're gonna fight corruption in politic 
crime as never has happened in Mexico.

KAHN: Under heavy security, Fox spoke at several spots throughout the 
border city.  He outlined his plans for cracking down on dishonest 
officials and overhauling the country's corrupt judicial system.  At a 
packed hotel ballroom, Fox told hundreds of business and community leaders 
that he will open court records and police investigations to the public in 
order to win back society's trust.

Pres. FOX: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: He says the opening will allow society to judge for themselves 
whether the government is performing well.  But Fox warns that at the same 
time citizens must open up, too, and help out.

Pres. FOX: (Through Translator) We need your help so that families, so that 
society, so that the community will no longer harbor criminals, delinquents 
and drug traffickers.  We need you to go public and to tell everyone who 
and where these criminals are.

KAHN: Getting society to stop turning a blind eye to crime and corruption 
may be as difficult a task for Fox as cracking down on infamous drug 
traffickers. Mexicans rarely report crimes and often fear police.  But 
Fox's new national security adviser, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, says it's not 
so much that the culture must change.  He says honesty, compassion and 
respect of the law have always been strong Mexican values. They've just 
been lost lately.

Mr. ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (National Security Adviser): Because people is 
desperate, because people does not trust the authorities, but we are going 
to recover the trust of the people and with that, we're going to recover 
all of the values that have created this great country.

KAHN: As Fox spoke in the hotel, Alfonso Leyal(ph) waited outside hoping to 
catch a glimpse of the charismatic new president.  The Tijuana shoe shiner 
says it's going to take a lot more than speeches to change society's view 
of the law.

Mr. ALFONSO LEYAL (Mexican Resident): (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: Leyal says, 'If Fox wants our help, then he's got to do more for us.' 
He says, 'Salaries need to increase and opportunities need to open up if 
people are going to feel better about the government.'

Fox couldn't agree more.  He said several times during the day that the war 
against corruption will be fought on two fronts, with better police and 
with better jobs.  For NPR News, I'm Carrie Kahn in Tijuana, Mexico.

EDWARDS: The time is 21 minutes before the hour.
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