Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mexico under Calderon becoming a narco-state?

Incoming Mexican President Felipe Calderon is so weak his swearing-in ceremony was a quick huddle under a hail of jeers. Calderon's first effort to "do something" about the growing power of illegal drug cartels in Mexico left many observers similarly unimpressed.

Although more than 6,000 soldiers and police were sent on a sweep through drug-infested Michoacan state, they failed to make a single arrest, despite having lists of cartel members with organizational charts. Read details in this L.A. Times article. One drug expert said of Calderon's operation that it wasn't a serious effort to break the drug trade; it was just an effort to stop the inter-gang killings and restore some order: "This is more like a father with a misbehaving adolescent." In other words, stop fighting each other boys, and get on with the business.

Under Vicente Fox, Calderon's predecessor and mentor, Mexico became a major plantation, factory, and staging area for illegal drugs pouring into the U.S. Both Fox and Calderon enjoy the active support of the Bush administration.

P.S. Dec. 19: Calderon's drug sweep has netted 55 suspected drug traffickers and destroyed "tons" of marijuana, says the L.A. Times in a follow-up story. According to the Times, the arrests and seizures hit the "Gulf" cartel, which has been locked in a turf war with the "Sinaloa" cartel. So, is this really an attack on the illegal drug business as a whole, or is the government lending a helping hand to one gang of drug dealers against a competitor?

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