Mexico: Despite Killing, Mexican Backs Drug Policy

Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jun 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Page: A13
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Marc Lacey
Cited: The presidential Website


MEXICO CITY — Faced with a surge in drug-related killings in recent
days, President Felipe Calderon on Monday offered a spirited defense
of his government’s antidrug offensive.

On Thursday night and Friday morning, attacks between rival drug
trafficking organizations left 85 people dead in states across
Mexico, according to newspaper tallies, making it the bloodiest
24-hour period in Mr. Calderon’s three-year-old presidency.

Mr. Calderon responded with his most extensive defense of his
administration’s drug war, a 5,000-word missive published on the
presidential Web site and in local newspapers that shifted some blame
for violence to previous administrations and to the United States and
insisted that backing down was not an option.

“If we remain with our arms crossed, we will remain in the hands of
organized crime, we will always live in fear, our children will not
have a future, violence will increase and we’ll lose our freedom,”
Mr. Calderon wrote.

On Monday, as television and radio commentators analyzed the
president’s statement, authorities announced another bad day, with 10
federal police officers killed and more than a dozen others wounded
in a clash with traffickers in Zitacuaro, a town in the central state
of Michoacan. The gunmen, some of whom died as well, used buses to
close off major highways and obstruct reinforcements by the
authorities, an increasingly common tactic employed by Mexico’s drug cartels.

In another episode on Monday, 28 inmates were killed and 3 guards
were wounded in an uprising led by detained traffickers in a prison
in Mazatlan, in the Pacific state of Sinaloa, authorities said.

The president, elected in 2006 to a six-year term, also condemned the
huge demand for drugs and the easy availability of guns in the United States.

“It is as though we have a neighbor next door who is the biggest
addict in the world, with the added fact that everyone wants to sell
drugs through our house,” Mr. Calderon said.