The cabinet shakeup could signal a hardening of the government's military stand against organized crime.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón Monday replaced his attorney general – a pointman since the beginning in the president's battle against drug trafficking that has engulfed this nation in unprecedented violence.
Mr. Calderón offered no reason for the resignation of Eduardo Medina Mora on Monday. The cabinet shakeup could signal a hardening of the government's military stand against organized crime after the death toll from drug-related violence has surged to more than 13,000 since Calderón took office in late 2006.
"It is not a change of strategy; it is an adjustment among the president's men, and Medina Mora was the weakest functionary in the security circle of the president," says Erubiel Tirado, a security specialist at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. "For Calderón, there is no way but this one."
Battling drug trafficking has been the cornerstone of Calderón's presidency. Midway through his six-year term, he opened his State of the Union address last week to unveil gains made in arms seizures and arrests.
Public backs Calderón's tough stance
Society seems to back him in his effort. In a recent survey by the non-profit Mexicans United Against Crime and Mitofsky Consulting, 50 percent of Mexicans said they believe the government's strategy against organized crime has been successful, while 33 percent consider it a failure.
But violence has continued unabated. As more than 45,000 troops have been dispatched by the Calderón administration throughout the country, homicides have not only grown in number but in intensity as well.