Faced with assassinations of top police officials, death tolls at historic highs, and beheadings in public places, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón sent 30,000 troops and police across the country to tackle drug-related violence after he took office in December. The Christian Science Monitor says tht nearly six months later, the terror has become worse, as drug cartels battle for smuggling routes into the U.S. Some compare the violence to the drug wars that plagued Colombia for more than a decade.
More than 1,000 people have been killed this year alone in drug-related violence, says the newspaper El Universal. Reporters have “disappeared,” innocent bystanders have died, the U.S. has issued travel warnings, and locals whisper about the worst violence they’ve ever seen. Calderón’s popularity has also doubled, with two-thirds of Mexicans now approving of his presidency. Yet many say Calderón’s deployment of troops could risk sparking more violence and wonder how long Mexicans will be patient before there is a backlash. A survey in March showed that 85 percent believe government moves to control drug-related violence will lead to more violence. More people have lost faith that authorities can control the situation – 50 percent in March, up from 44 percent in January of 2005.