WashPost: U.S.-backed Drug War in Mexico losing popular support
From the Washington Post, New Strategy Urged in Mexico; Calderón’s U.S.-Backed War Against Drug Cartels Losing Political Support, by William Booth and Steve Fainaru.
Drug-related deaths during the 2 1/2 years of Calderon’s administration passed 12,000 this month. Rather than shrinking or growing weaker, the Mexican cartels are using their wealth and increasing power to expand into Central America, cocaine-producing regions of the Andes and maritime trafficking routes in the eastern Pacific, according to law enforcement authorities.
In Mexico, neither high-profile arrests nor mass troop deployments have stopped the cartels from unleashing spectacular acts of violence. This month, the cartel called La Familia launched three days of coordinated attacks in eight cities in the western state of Michoacan. Responding to the arrest of one its leaders, La Familia abducted, tortured and killed a dozen federal agents; their corpses were found piled up beside a highway.
In Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Calderón flooded the city with 10,000 troops and federal police officers in February in an effort to stem runaway violence. After a two-month lull, drug-related homicides surged 307 percent, to nearly eight killings a day in June. On Wednesday, a man eating lunch at a Denny’s restaurant across the street from the U.S. Consulate was shot six times in the head by a trio of gunmen.
Lawmakers in Chihuahua state, where Juarez is located, debated this month whether Calderón’s surge was “a total failure.” Antonio Andreu, president of the state legislature’s commission on security, said it appears that drug gangs have infiltrated the military’s intelligence networks and figured out how to circumvent the gauntlet of security forces in Juarez.