Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is in Mexico City as part of an effort to design a plan to combat crime in the urban area. City officials hope the zero-tolerance program Mr. Giuliani successfully implemented in New York City several years ago will have similar results in Mexico.
After months of speculation about when he might come for a visit, Rudolph Giuliani arrived under cover of darkness at an airport west of the city. The former New York mayor, known for his crackdown on crime in that city, spent most of Tuesday touring various parts of Mexico City with local officials and an escort of heavily armed police.
Last month, a New York newspaper reported that a Colombian rebel group was planning to kidnap Mr. Giuliani when he came to Mexico. Mr. Giuliani said at the time that the report would not prevent him from visiting Mexico, but he gave no specific indication of when he might come.
The former U.S. federal prosecutor and New York mayor is working under a $4 million contract with Mexico City to formulate a crime-fighting plan. The city's chief prosecutor, Bernardo Batriz says he is here as an advisor only.
He says officials will examine his proposals and see how they might be applied. He says Mexico City is much larger than New York and has its own particular characteristics.
Although a business group has offered to pay much of the cost of Mr. Giuliani's work, city officials have also asked for public contributions. Many critics have questioned the whole idea of calling in the former New York mayor and they have been vocal now that he is here.
Jose Luis Luege, president of the National Action Party in the Mexican federal district, which comprises Mexico City, says he is doubtful about what the former New York mayor can offer. He says neither Mr. Giuliani nor the Holy Spirit will solve the grave problem of crime in the city because it is principally founded in police corruption. But he says Mr. Giuliani is welcome to provide his input in an open, democratic discussion aimed at getting to the bottom of the problem.
Mexico City is considered one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world. Although the murder rate is lower than many large cities in industrialized nations, kidnapping rates are among the highest in the world and assaults, muggings, bank robberies and other crimes are common occurrences.