U.S. Has Major Stake in Mexico’s ‘Seesawing’ War on Crime


With news of fresh mass killings alternating with stories of significant arrests, the New York Times analyzes what it calls “the seesawing battle for the right to claim victory at a critical juncture in Mexico’s organized crime war.” Mexican and American officials, crediting American training of the military and what they consider to be an increasingly professional federal police force, point out that more than half of the 37 most wanted crime bosses announced last year have been captured or killed. The government also maintains that the murder rate declined in late 2010.

But the public does not seem to believe it. A recent poll found that more than 70 percent of respondents believed that the country's security had worsened since 2009. A political analyst called it “a disconnect between what the government thinks it is achieving and what the public perceives as happening.” Both Mexican and American officials are facing growing pressure to prove that their strategy is working. With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, the Obama administration will face renewed scrutiny to account for the $1.4 billion, multiyear Merida Initiative, the cornerstone of American aid in Mexico's drug fight.

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