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To tame drug violence, Mexican general takes control of chaotic Michoacan

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He wants to create a new national police force and move away from Calderon's strategy of relying on the military, and he is clearly seeking to focus public attention away from violence and on to the economy.

More than 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Calderon began his offensive against the drug gangs. The government says the pace of killing has slowed since Pena Nieto took office in December, but thousands of people still died in his first months in office.

Calderon had sent out generals to lead operations in violence-racked states and cities such as Tijuana andJuarez, but they did not control the state and city police.

Michoacan has been grappling with civil unrest since April. Protesters repeatedly blocked major streets and highways in the capital and others cities. Compounding matters, vigilante groups have sprung up in the region this year, with masked militiamen claiming that state and federal police are not protecting them from criminal gangs.

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