The Presidency of Felipe Calderón

 

The Presidency of Felipe Calderon

As advanced, although violence between drug cartels has been occurring long before the war began, the Government held a generally passive position regarding cartel violence in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  However, in 2006, the newly elected president Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs by sending 6,500 federal troops to the state of Michoacán in order to end drug violence.  As time elapsed, President Calderón continued to expand his anti-drug campaign and today, in addition to state and federal police forces, there are other 50,000 officers involved.[1]  In 2010, Calderón said that the cartels were trying “to replace the government” and “are trying to impose a monopoly by force of arms, and are even trying to impose their own laws.”[2]  Thus, a stronger army was needed.

President Felipe Calderon faces a difficult task.  There are three main political parties, each one with different political interests.  In fact, this chaotic political situation is the main barrier for the unification of a country that requires a strong front in order to counteract organized crime.  In this regard, no consensus can be reached – whether on federal or state level – to enact effective laws to fight against drug-lords.  Indeed, the failure by the Mexican institutions to fight as a unit results in the lack of resources to properly fight back.  President Calderón only finds support in the country’s army, which still remains faithful to him.   Consequently, due to low levels of confidence in the local and federal police forces, the Mexican Government – with help from the U.S. Government – began to  “militarize” some of its leading institutions.[3]

The U.S. continued to pressure and attempt to persuade the Mexican authorities to militarize the security institutions, as well as to give the army a more relevant role.  Unfortunately, the military did not have any way of controlling the U.S. demand for drugs.  Additionally, the armed forces were faced with the same corruption problems as the police.  Indeed, history could easily repeat itself, and the organized crime may thus easily penetrate the command and ranks of the army (since most of the soldiers come from low-income families and soldiers were born and raised in the Mexican culture of corruption).  However, for the moment, the military is still the main support of President Felipe Calderon’s Government.


[1] Mexico’s drug related violence, BBC News, June 14, 2011 (available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10681249). 

[2] Associated Press, Mexican cartels move beyond drugs, seek domination, MSNBC News, August 4, 2010 (available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38565051/ns/world_news-americas).

[3] Carlos Fazio, El tercer vinculo; De la teoria del caos a la teoria de la militarizacion (Joaquín Mortiz-Planeta, 2004)

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