Mexican President Felipe Calderón wants to raise spending on fighting organized crime and drug gangs by 39 percent next year, as rampant violent crime poses the biggest test of his presidency, Reuters reports. A surge in drug gang killings to more than 2,700 so far this year, as powerful cartels battle the army and each other. A wave of often fatal kidnappings triggered a protest march of more than 150,000 people in the capital last month.
Mexico has long ranked with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia among the worst countries for abductions, yet the recent kidnapping and murder of the son of a high-profile businessman sparked an outcry from the crime-hardened general public. Calderón’s crackdown is set to be aided in the months ahead by the arrival of $1.4 billion worth of helicopters, surveillance gear, and training from the U.S.