Because COPs are visited by many people who have managed to make themselves rather unpopular – world leaders – security is a big issue. It has yet to be seen how things will unfold here in Cancun, but security is very tight indeed. The COP is being held here in Cancun, rather than in Mexico City, because the geography makes it easier to secure. The problem is that security and democracy are uneasy bedfellows. The former usually edges out the latter.
To be sure, there’s an additional problem here in Mexico – narcos, the drug wars. Of course, these are also driven by unpopular world leaders – the US and its insane and destructive “war on drugs”. Though it’s not really clear to me why the narcos would target a bunch of climate diplomats and activists.
Anyway – this promises to be the “most secure COP” yet – protected by Mexican police, army and UN peace keepers.
The Secretary of Public Security of Quintana Roo, Real Admiral Miguel Angel Ramos reported this afternoon that the peacekeepers of the United Nations, known as “blue helmets” will strengthen the security umbrella of the International Conference on Climate Change COP16 in this city.
Be the first time that a military force has a specific objective mission in Mexico, whose governments have reiterated the pacifist tradition in its modern history, the conditions of insecurity generated by the war against organized crime, led the government of Mexico to accept the proposal, said the secretariat of the UNFCCC.
The attorney general, Francisco Alor Quezada, confirmed that battalions of peacekeepers from the UN, in coordination with national security forces will be in charge of the headquarters of the summit, the Moon Palace hotel and the fairgrounds CancúnMesse, and the hotel zone area.
The roads in and out of this massive resort are now a constant series of road blocks, and ordinary public transport is greatly slowed down, apparently. (So far, I have only ridden the official COP buses, which are not stopped.)
The South African government has promised that COP17 in Durban will be a “People’s COP”. They haven’t really explained what they mean by that – the implication is that proceedings will be more open and accessible than they were in Copenhagen’s COP15 – where UN security shut down COP15, excluding all but a few non-governmental observers on grounds of security. On the street, they were enthusiastically assisted by the Danish police with arbitrary brutality, arrests and detentions of activists – not exactly what one would have expected from civilised Scandinavians.
Here in Mexico, it looks like COP16 will be a cops’ COP.
[tags security, UN blue helmets