Mexico’s war on drugs: what has it achieved and how is the US involved?

12/8/2016 The Guardian 

drug warWhy did Mexico launch its war on drugs?

On 10 December 2006, the newly inaugurated president, Felipe Calderón, launched Mexico’s war on drugs by sending 6,500 troops into his home state of Michoacán, where rival cartels were engaged in tit-for-tat massacres as they battled over lucrative territory. The surge in violence had started in 2005, and a string of police and military operations by his predecessor Vicente Fox had failed to stem the bloodshed.

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Mexico’s War on Crime: A Decade of (Militarized) Failure

12/6/16 InSight Crime

Latin America's Economic Imperative: Felipe CalderonThis week marks ten years since Mexico‘s government embarked on a militarized campaign against the country’s criminal organizations, but while many criminal leaders have been captured or killed, a decade of confrontation has failed to substantially improve the nation’s security situation. On December 11, 2006, days after being sworn in, Mexico‘s then-President Felipe Calderón announced that his administration was deploying thousands of federal troops to combat organized crime in his home state of Michoacán.

Interior Minister Francisco Javier Ramírez Acuña said at the time that “the battle against organized crime is only just beginning, and it will be a fight that will take time.” Ten years later, Michoacán remains one of Mexico‘s most violent states.

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Mexico: 14 gunmen killed in shootout with police in Veracruz

12/6/16 The Washington Post 

download-4XALAPA, Mexico — Mexican police and marines have killed 14 presumed criminal gang members in a shootout in the troubled Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

The state joint security agency says in a statement that a patrol came under fire Monday afternoon on a road in the town of Jesus Carranza, near the border of Oaxaca state. The patrol called for backup, and 14 suspects died in the firefight. Agents seized 13 assault rifles and a weapon capable of piercing armored vehicles.

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Mexico catches Sinaloa cartel operator in Guerrero state

11/29/16 The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Mexican prosecutors said Tuesday they have caught a leading opium trafficker for the Sinaloa cartel in the southern state of Guerrero. The Attorney General’s Office said Vicente Carrillo Salmeron is suspected in the killings of law enforcement officers and a local politician.

Prosecutors alleged Carrillo Salmeron oversaw the growing and trafficking of marijuana and the trafficking of opium and weapons. They called him “one of the main causes of violence” in the region.

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Mexico Judges Admit to Feeling Intimidated by Criminal Groups

11/24/16 InSight Crime

Judges in Mexico have opened up about the intimidation they face from criminal groups, illustrating the importance of protective measures to shield the country’s justice system and ensure judicial integrity and impartiality.

The recent killing of federal judge Vicente Antonio Bermúdez Zacarías has sparked fear among other judicial officials and served as a reminder that organized crime groups hold significant power. Bermúdez Zacarías was handling the extradition proceedings of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

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Proposed Law in Mexico Could Expand Military Role in Drug War

11/25/16 InSight Crime

download-1A new law up for debate in Mexico‘s lower house proposes to expand and regulate the role of the military in the country’s decade-long drug war, a red flag to critics of the controversial militarized crackdown against cartels.

When presenting the new initiative, one of the representatives in favor of it — Martha Sofía Tamayo Morales — acknowledged that Mexico‘s armed forces have become “the main resource” in confronting organized crime and national security issues, but that “it’s efficiency has been limited due to the lack of an adequate legal framework…particularly during its peacetime role.”

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Perceptions of Security Worsen for Average Mexicans: Poll

11/28/16 InSight Crime

handcuffsPerceptions of insecurity in Mexico have worsened year on year, and more people than ever since the start of the drug war think the government crackdown is making the country less secure. The latest opinion poll by El Universal and pollster Buendia & Laredo will be unwelcome but predictable news for President Enrique Peña Nieto and his administration. Despite government efforts to control the message around Mexico’s insecurity, the reality on the streets is making an impact on public opinion.

The findings by the latest poll were based on in-person interviews with 1,000 respondents. Although a tiny sample in a country of more than 122 million, the data provides valuable food for thought. Sixty-nine percent of respondents to the survey published by El Universal said they think that violence related to organized crime has risen, compared to 58 percent in November 2015.

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