Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Changing course in Mexico's drug war

Mexico's new president has begun to announce the new directions of the war on drugs and drug cartels. Will the policy changes result in political changes?

Mexico unveils details of new security strategy
Mexico's new administration offered the first details on Tuesday of a long-touted shift in the country's war on drugs, saying the government will spend $9.2 billion this year on social programs meant to keep young people from joining criminal organizations in the 251 most violent towns and neighborhoods across the country.

The government will flood those areas with spending on programs ranging from road-building to increasing school hours…

Peña Nieto
"It's clear that we must put special emphasis on prevention, because we can't only keep employing more sophisticated weapons, better equipment, more police, a higher presence of the armed forces in the country as the only form of combating organized crime," Peña Nieto said.

The rhetoric of the announcement was a forceful rejection of Peña Nieto's predecessor, Felipe Calderón, who deployed thousands of troops to battle cartel gunmen and frequently boasted of the number of drug-gang leaders arrested and killed on his watch. But the speeches by Peña Nieto and Osorio Chong contained few specifics…

"The focus isn't new, but in Calderón's case it was much more of secondary importance, and at least the announcement today in Aguascalientes is about prioritizing the focus on prevention over punishment," said Erubiel Tirado, coordinator of the national security program at Iberoamerican University in Mexico City…

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