Many in Mexico say drug violence is worse under new president

Reuters/NY Times:
Nearly half of Mexicans feel drug-related violence has increased since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December, according to a newspaper poll released on Friday, heaping pressure on the president who vowed to tame the gangs and restore order.

The El Universal/Buendia & Laredo poll found that 49 percent of the 1,000 people questioned thought drug violence had worsened since December, up 9 points since February. A quarter of respondents felt security had improved while another 25 percent thought it had remained steady.

The survey makes for mixed reading for Pena Nieto, who came into power vowing to break with his predecessor's military-led tactics and put an end to Mexico's vicious drug war.

Nearly 80,000 people have died in drug-related killings since former President Felipe Calderon sent in the army to quell the powerful drug bosses, a policy Pena Nieto has criticized but found tough to break with.

Pena Nieto has said he wants to take a different tack, lowering crime by targeting kidnapping and extortion.

But earlier this week, Pena Nieto scaled back plans for his flagship security measure, a militarized police force, or gendarmerie, that he hoped would gradually take the place of the army in the conflict.

Pena Nieto had spoken of a 40,000-strong force, but it has now been cut to 5,000, leading some to question how different Pena Nieto's drug policy is from Calderon's.

Critics point to a number of recent kingpin captures under Pena Nieto, including a suspected boss of the Gulf Cartel, in addition to the leader of the Zetas, Miguel Angel Trevino, and a suspected lieutenant of Mexico's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
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There is much more.

Mexico is a long way from a law abiding society.  It needs a counterinsurgency program that will protect the people and make it easier to cut off the movements of the narco terrorist.  At best, its current policy is a whack a mole strategy that manages to take out some of the leaders of the criminal insurgency without controlling the organizations.

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