The Washington Post | 7/28/2009 12:00:00 AM
New Strategy Urged in Mexico
Jul 28--Calderón's U.S.-Backed War Against Drug Cartels Losing Political Support. President Felipe Calderón is under growing pressure to overhaul a U.S.-backed anti-narcotics strategy that many political leaders and analysts said is failing amid spectacular drug cartel assaults against the government.
"The people of Mexico are losing hope, and it is urgent that Congress, the political parties and the president reconsider this strategy," said Ramón Galindo, a senator and Calderón supporter who is a former mayor of Ciudad Juarez, a border city where more than 1,100 people have been killed this year.
U.S. officials said they now believe Mexico faces a longer and bloodier campaign than anticipated and is likely to require more American aid. U.S. and Mexican officials increasingly draw comparisons to Colombia, where from 2000 to 2006 the United States spent $6 billion to help neutralize the cartels that once dominated the drug trade. While violence is sharply down in Colombia, cocaine production is up.
Mexico, nearly twice Colombia's size, faces a more daunting challenge, many officials and analysts said , in part because it sits adjacent to the United States, the largest illegal drug market in the world. In addition, at least seven major cartels are able to recruit from Mexico's swelling ranks of impoverished youth and thousands of disenfranchised soldiers and police officers.
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