Skip to comments.Mexico's president gambles with use of military in drug crackdown (3000 killings in 1½ years)
Posted on 07/13/2007 10:42:54 PM PDT by Libloather
Mexico takes gloves off
President gambles with use of military in drug crackdown
By Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post
Article Last Updated: 07/09/2007 07:25:29 AM PDT
MEXICO CITY Every Monday morning, President Felipe Calderon settles in at the head of the table in the presidential library at Los Pinos, Mexico's fortresslike chief executive's compound.
Calderon presides over strategy sessions with the leaders of Mexico's army and navy, key players in the centerpiece initiative of his seven-month-old presidency: a military assault against drug cartels. No Mexican president in recent history has convened his security council with such regularity, but few of his modern-day predecessors have faced such a daunting security crisis.
Calderon is betting his presidency on a surge of Mexican troops one of the country's largest deployments of the military in a crime-fighting role to wage street-by-street battles with drug cartels that are blamed for more than 3,000 execution-style killings in the past year and a half. Sending more than 20,000 federal troops and police officers to nine Mexican states has made Calderon extremely popular; his latest approval ratings hit 65 percent.
But as the campaign drags into its eighth month and the death toll mounts, Calderon is facing a growing cadre of critics, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights representative in Mexico, who opposes the use of the military in policing. Calderon is also contending with enemies in Mexico's Congress who want to strip him of the authority to dispatch troops without congressional approval. The Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights organization, has faulted him as quick to use the military but slow to reform Mexico's corrupt police.
All this is familiar territory for Calderon, a former congressman and energy secretary who appears comfortable in the role of political scrapper.
(Excerpt) Read more at insidebayarea.com ...
Small-town officials in Mexico face big drug-trafficking woes
By Hector Tobar and Carlos Martinez, Los Angeles Times
July 13, 2007
NACO, Mexico -- The message came on police emergency radio: An army of drug traffickers with machine guns mounted on their pickup trucks was headed toward this town of 5,000 people on the Arizona-Mexico border.
Like a sheriff in a Western, police chief and part-time schoolteacher Juan Bracamontes gritted his teeth and assembled his 15 officers, who had nothing better than .38-caliber revolvers to face off against the enemy.
"Those who want to leave can leave," the chief said. "Those who want to stay and fight, line up behind me and we'll give it to them good."
One officer quit on the spot. The others deployed around the town but not before taking off their uniforms and abandoning their patrol cars for unmarked vehicles.
In other Mexican towns, local authorities have not shown as much courage in the face of threats from cash-rich drug traffickers. Underarmed, underprepared, and often corrupt, small-town officials and police are the Achilles' heel of President Felipe Calderón's offensive against the nation's drug traffickers.
Mexican president gambles? Who don’t say?
Yeah, right and kill his gravy train.
Calderon presides over strategy sessions with the leaders of Mexico’s army and navy,....Navy?...what?...a large bait barge?
What would our Congressmen do without their drugs? After withdrawl would they actually support America?
3000 deaths in one and a half years?
It’s a quagmire!
Surely the troops should pull out and everything will be just fine, all the shooting will stop and Mexico will be peaceful.
Well, isn’t that what the Dems are proposing for Iraq?