Six out of 10 Mexicans believe organized crime gangs are getting the upper hand in the war that President Felipe Calderon launched against drug trafficking in 2006, says a new survey reported by McClatchy Newspapers. The poll may augur a change in Mexico’s approach to its huge drug-trafficking problem when a new administration takes over after elections next year.
Calderon, 48, is in the fifth and defining year of a six-year presidential term. Mexico’s presidents serve only one term. While the army-backed offensive he launched when he took office has disrupted drug gangs and netted a handful of drug barons, it’s coincided with a rising death toll. Last year, 15,273 Mexicans were killed, many more than the 9,600 killed a year earlier. In total, more than 35,000 people have died in drug violence since Calderon took office. In a telephone poll of 500 Mexicans last Saturday, Demotecnia found that 59 percent of respondents said the country was as bad off as or worse off than it was when Calderon took office.