President Calderon’s war on drugs has claimed nearly 18,000 lives, cost a small fortune in military expenditures, and brought enormous damage to the country’s image abroad. Obama must help Mexico adopt a new strategy.
Earlier in the year, on Jan. 31, at a party in Ciudad Juárez, 15 teenagers were shot and killed, apparently by mistake; the perpetrators are still at large.
On his third trip to Juárez this year (a bit belatedly; he had visited the million-and-a-half-inhabitant community only twice before as president), Mr. Calderón insisted that appearances notwithstanding, thanks to the yearlong presence of 10,000 Mexican troops, violence had begun to recede. According to his own government’s figures, there have been 536 executions in Juárez since Jan. 1; that’s100 more than during the same period last year, which, in turn, experienced a rise of 25 percent throughout 2008.
For those who claim that the violence is localized in a few border towns like Juárez, and more recently, Reynosa (across the line from McAllen, Texas), the tragic incidents across the country over the past weeks point to that as wishful thinking.
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