Mar 29, 2012

Analysis: Drug gang menace overshadows Mexican election

ReutersBy Dave Graham and Lisbeth Diaz. A month after taking office, President Felipe Calderon stood in military fatigues before a group of soldiers in western Mexico and pledged to put a stop to drug-related violence.

Turf wars between drug cartels were spreading deep into Mexico, beyond the smuggling hotspots on the U.S. border; extortion was a growing menace, and hitmen had resorted to new levels of brutality, dumping severed heads in public.

So Calderon said enough was enough.

"We are determined to reestablish the security, not just of Michoacan or Baja California, but of all Mexico, which is being threatened by organized crime," he told the soldiers in Apatzingan, in his home state of Michoacan.

But since then, the drugs war has taken a much heavier toll, claiming more than 50,000 lives and blighting many more.

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