Mexicans have long been fed up with the escalating drug violence in the nation. But 20 months after conservative President Felipe Calderón launched a massive military effort against drug violence, the bloodshed has only gotten worse, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Calderón has scrambled to assuage public outrage, signing a national pact this month with the country’s leaders to improve anticorruption measures for cops and form new antikidnapping squads. But the pressure is on.
Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Mexicans participated in peace marches across Mexico, voicing mounting frustration over the insecurity and impunity that they say is reigning. Calderón responded by meeting Sunday with 14 civic leaders who staged the protests, saying he’d set up citizens’ panels to monitor government progress, recruit better police, and equip officers with more powerful weapons. Yet if violence is not reduced, it could backfire for the president who has made security a cornerstone of his leadership. The newspaper Reforma has tallied 2,950 murders linked to drug violence this year alone; they say their tally of 167 murders last week marks the deadliest week since Calderón took office.