Note: The military is currently the only viable force in this.
Mexican presidential hopeful vows drugs war shift
By Dave Graham and Miguel Angel Gutierrez
MEXICO CITY | Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:18pm EDT
(Reuters) - A leading presidential candidate of Mexico's ruling party
said on Wednesday he would break with government policy and withdraw
the army from the fight against drug gangs if he wins the election in
Santiago Creel, a former interior minister belonging to the
conservative National Action Party (PAN), told Reuters that President
Felipe Calderon's military strategy had served its course and that he
would change "everything" as leader.
"The direct, frontal, expansive strategy is a strategy that should
end with this administration," said Creel, who is seeking the PAN's
nomination for the presidency.
Deaths from drug-related violence in Mexico have surged since
Calderon sent in the army to fight the cartels when he took office in
December 2006, damaging support for his party and causing strains in
relations with the United States.
Calderon has endured withering criticism from victims of the drug war
and opposition lawmakers for his U.S.-backed military approach but he
has stood firm, arguing the cartels would have become too powerful if
he had not acted.
More than 44,000 people have died in the conflict to date, and Creel
said that if elected in the July vote, he would start taking the
Mexican army off the streets as soon as he took office in December 2012.
"By my calculations this would be a period of transition of around 24
months," said the 56-year-old Creel, a descendant of a U.S. immigrant
to Mexico of Scottish origin.
Instead, he said priority should be given to attacking cartels'
revenue streams, cracking down on money laundering and cleaning up
Mexico's prisons, where top criminals are often able to continue
running their crime gangs on the outside.
Creel, who also sought the PAN's candidacy for the 2006 election, was
an early front runner this time, though some recent surveys have
shown former education minister Josefina Vazquez Mota could be
Opinion polls also show the PAN trailing the opposition Institutional
Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for seven decades
If the PRI won the election, it would be a serious setback for Latin
America's second biggest economy, said Creel.
"People are going to think hard about what returning to the past
means, returning to this model ... of agreements or shady deals with
criminals," he said.
Calderon also said earlier this month that some in the PRI could
consider making deals with organized crime, a practice the party's
opponents say was widespread in Mexico in the past.
(Editing by Kieran Murray)
Note: something else for us locals to worry about, poll from nuevo
dia in Nogales, Son.
¿Qué posibilidades cree que tenga el PRI de recuperar la alcaldía de
Nogales con Ramón Guzmán como candidato?
Muchas (43%, 138 Votes)
Ninguna (36%, 116 Votes)
Pocas (21%, 70 Votes)
Total Voters: 324