After killing a dozen Mexican police, Michoacán drug organization goes on TV to proclaim it wants 'peace' and a 'national pact.' The government declines.
After one of their top men was arrested last weekend, gunmen from Mexico's La Familia cartel went on a rampage, shooting up police stations and leaving 12 federal officers in a pile alongside a highway.
La Familia now says that all they really want is peace and tranquility.
On a local news program in the state of Michoacán, where the drug organization is based, a man identifying himself as a leader of La Familia explained to viewers that their attacks in the past few days have been a response to police action against their families and friends.
"What we want is peace and tranquility," the leader, identified as Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, said. "We want to achieve a national pact."
"We want the president, Mr. Felipe Calderón, to know that we are not his enemies, that we value him, that we are conscientious people," he went on.
Although the legitimacy of the call was not immediately verified, the government of President Calderón immediately reacted. "The federal government does not ever dialogue, does not negotiate, does not reach deals with any criminal organization," Mexican Interior Minister Fernando Gomez Mont said. "There is no other alternative for their members but to submit to the law."
Public confidence in Calderón slips
But that hard stance might increasingly alienate voters. Calderón has had overwhelming support for his offensive against drug traffickers, the cornerstone of his presidency, which he launched immediately upon taking office in December 2006 and from which he has not backed down. He has sent some 45,000 troops and federal police across the country to where traffickers operate. But as violence has escalated across Mexico, so has public frustration.
It is one reason that political analysts say that Calderón's National Action Party (PAN) lost ground to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled the country for 71 years, in midterm elections earlier this month. Many Mexicans have long speculated that the PRI may have cut deals with drug organizations – allowing them to operate with more impunity but with less violence.