Publish in Special Reports - Monday, September 3, 2012
Mexico's Marines last week detained Jose Javier Ramirez Chavez, alleged leader of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation. (Photo: Semar)
Will Enrique Peña Nieto reduce the drug violence in Mexico after he assumes the country's presidency in December? (Photo: World Economic Forum)
BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
Last month, nine people died when a group allegedly tied to the Gulf Cartel – one of Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations – attacked a night club in Monterrey. They are the latest in a growing group of fatal victims caught up in the country’s drug war. So far more than 50,000 people have died since the war started six years ago.
The fight against Mexico’s drug cartels has been a cornerstone of the outgoing administration of President Felipe Calderon, who will hand over power to Enrique Peña Nieto in December.
Experts disagree on whether or not there will be any improvement under Peña Nieto and to what degree he will change the policies of Calderon. Some believe there will be little improvement, while others predict a clear reduction in violence as a result of new policies and focus by Peña Nieto.
“Enrique Peña Nieto and his closest collaborators understand that Mexico’s security situation is one of the most important and serious challenges the new administration will have to face as soon as he is inaugurated on December the first,” says Sergio Diaz, Managing Director of the Mexico office of US-based FTI Consulting. “The different sectors of the Mexican society are [clamoring] for positive results in the so-called war of President Calderon against organized crime in Mexico. “Influential opinion leaders, heads of powerful business associations, Catholic Church leaders, human rights activists, they all remain skeptical about the real achievements of President Calderon’s administration as they witness that growing portions of the country are being beset by a wave of violent crime. The impatience of the Mexican society is being tested when cities, highways and towns that used to be safe and quiet are now being dramatically disturbed by street shootings, executions, assaults, grenades and road blockades.”