Mexico's Drug War Takes New Direction-Mexico Institute In the News

Dec 18, 2012

Wall Street Journal, 12/17/2012

President Enrique Peña Nieto and his national-security team signaled a new tack Monday in Mexico's drug war, blasting their predecessors' policies while offering new measures like a rural gendarmerie to try to take back territories out of government control.

The speeches, the first by the new administration on tackling crime, were notable as much for their tone as their substance: In his address, Mr. Peña Nieto mentioned neither drugs nor drug traffickers, instead reiterating promises to stanch violent crime such as kidnapping and homicide. Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong went further, saying policies to target crime leaders had backfired, fracturing groups and making them more violent...

Eric Olson, a Mexico analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank, said Mr. Peña Nieto's emphasis on building Mexico's institutions over battling drugs could cause concern among U.S. lawmakers who still see stopping the flow of drugs as a primary objective for Mexico. However, he said many policy makers are coming around to Mr. Peña Nieto's diversified approach. "It's not bad idea and frankly more realistic," he said...

On the new Gendarmerie:

But Mr. Olson pointed out that the president's call for a 10,000-troop gendarmerie was a far cry from the 80,000-member corps he promoted on the campaign trail. "It reflects that reality is setting in that they don't have people sitting idly to join these forces," he said.

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