Deaths Top 28,000, Calderon Urged To Rethink Mexican Drug War


The drug war in Mexico is at a crossroads, McClatchy Newspapers report. As the death toll climbs above 28,000, President Felipe Calderon confronts growing pressure to try a different strategy – perhaps radically different – to quell the violence unleashed by major drug syndicates. Even someone from his own party, former President Vicente Fox, is telling Calderon that his policy is seriously off-track and is backing drug legalization.

Many Mexicans don’t know whether their country is winning or losing the war against drug traffickers, but they know they’re fatigued by the brutality that’s sweeping parts of their nation. Calderon urged his countrymen this week not to gauge the drug war by the relentless rise of the death toll. In early April, newspaper tallies put the toll at around 18,000, but legislators then leaked a higher official estimate: 22,700. Earlier this month, the nation’s intelligence chief said that 28,000 people most likely had been killed since Calderon came to office in late 2006. Calderon wants to abolish the 1,200 municipal police departments and strengthen 32 state police forces under some level of federal command. As it is now, he said, “there is no possibility of setting directives on strategy, logistics or even discipline on this enormous body of police at the municipal level.”

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