Colombia’s retiring police director, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, has been appointed to work as a security consultant by Mexican presidential front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto. Naranjo would be expected to continue if Peña Nieto won. Elections will be held on July 1.
Naranjo, 55, is a hero in the region; he dismantled Colombia’s major drug trafficking organizations, including Pablo Escobar and the Medellin and Cali cartels. He is also the architect of Colombia’s police intelligence directorate, the most sophisticated in Latin America. Naranjo has worked closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and in recent years, has collaborated with senior Mexican law enforcement and judicial officials.
Naranjo is one of Colombia’s most popular figures; he is touted as a possible future vice presidential candidate.
Naranjo’s appointment is a relief to many in Mexico. Observers worry about Peña Nieto’s, and the PRI’ s, strategy for ending the drug war: Peña Nieto has said he will focus more on reducing violence against ordinary Mexicans, rather than narcotics seizures and arrests of cartel leaders.
Further, Peña Nieto’s campaign has been fending off allegations that leading figures in his PRI party took millions of dollars in bribes from the Zetas drug cartel.