Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Poll: Mexicans think cartels are winning drug war

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 |

By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Newspapers

Mexicans are in a funk over their president, and a majority of them think that he's losing control of the country, an opinion poll released Tuesday found.

Six out of 10 Mexicans think that organized crime gangs are getting the upper hand in the war that President Felipe Calderon launched against drug trafficking when he came to office in late 2006, the poll by Demotecnia found.

The poll may augur a change in the country's approach to its huge drug-trafficking problem when a new administration takes over after elections next year.

Calderon, 48, is in the fifth and defining year of a six-year presidential term. His National Action Party is struggling to find a suitable candidate for the 2012 presidential elections - Mexico's presidents serve only one term - and Calderon recently suggested that the party should look outside its ranks for a candidate.

While the army-backed offensive that Calderon launched when he took office has disrupted drug gangs and netted a handful of drug barons, it's coincided with a rising death toll. Last year, 15,273 Mexicans were killed, a spike over the 9,600 killed a year earlier. In total, more than 35,000 people have died in drug violence since Calderon took office.

In a telephone poll of 500 Mexicans conducted Saturday, Demotecnia found that 59 percent of respondents said the country was as bad off or worse off than it was when Calderon took office.

Asked who's gaining the upper hand in the war against narcotics cartels, 59 percent also said drug traffickers were winning, the Mexico City polling group said.

In another question, respondents were asked whether Calderon had a firm grip on the reins of the country or matters were falling out of his control. Sixty-seven percent picked the latter option.

Demotecnia director Maria de las Heras said the poll reflected frustrations over Calderon's policies on organized crime.

"The drug war has not worked out well, according to the poll," De las Heras said in a telephone interview. "He has put all his political capital into this, and the perception at least, maybe not the reality, is that it is going very badly. The majority of people are not satisfied."

Even President Barack Obama has been drawn into Calderon's woes. On March 19, he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, whom Calderon had publicly flayed over leaked diplomatic cables that questioned whether Mexico's strategy on the cartels was working.

Obama, on a stop in nearby El Salvador on March 22, told CNN en Espanol that U.S.-Mexican cooperation was "very robust and very effective."

But he added: "The challenge is that the drug cartels have gotten stronger and President Calderon rightly feels frustrated."

De las Heras said part of the gloom among Mexicans was that few better strategies were apparent.

"The sense is that we're in a tunnel where it is hard to see the other side," she said.

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11 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

What makes anyone think any differently than the government is losing control to the cartels? Seems the like the death toll has been frozen at 35,000 for well over a year and this last six months has been the most brutal with casualties mounting daily but not affecting the approx. count.

Anonymous said...

The numbers are bad here in mexico I belive the goverment numbers incorrect. One paper in mexico city tries to keep records, the problem is many newspapers here are under pressure to report for the cartel in control of thier area. the blogs report many crimes that I do not see in my local paper noroste mazatlan, in the first half of 2010 in mexico app 11000 people were reported missing where are they? many kidnaped victims end up working on a pot ranches I do not belive all are dead, but really where are they. They found 72 dead in one place near the border where are the rest? I belive the mexican goverment can and will win this war (and this is a war) It will take time and the death count will rise and we will never know the true body count If I belived in god I would beg him to save his children Oh what the hell "Lord save your children" (just in case i am wrong)

Ardent said...

Incredible, but now many people actually want the PRI back in Los Pinos! The PAN just sucks up to US foreign policy making way too damn much and most Mexicans who are not Middle or Upper Class are fed up with them after more than a decade of having their hacks in federal office.

Unfortunately, there is now about as much difference between the PRI and PAN as there is between Tweedle D and Tweedle R.

Layla2 said...

De las Heras said "the poll reflected frustrations over Calderon's policies on organized crime...part of the gloom among Mexicans was that few better strategies were apparent."

NOW READ THIS ESSAY AND SEE IF IT MAKES ANY SENSE TO YOU:

http://forum.objectivismonline.net/index.php?showtopic=6925

"Many people say the War on Drugs is an abject failure. With over a million people in jail, drug use is as widespread as it has ever been. If the lives ruined by imprisonment and being marked for life as a felon are counted as casualties, the War on Drugs has had as many casualties as all other wars in American history." And Mexico's history as well...

The purpose of the essay is to show how the war on drugs causes more problems than it solves. A good read and argument for those frustrated over the results of our "War on Drugs."

Anonymous said...

I would never trust a "Mexican Poll". It's too susceptible to "influence" depending on who's side the "reporting" polls are on. "Apollo"

Anonymous said...

CALDERON IS A JOKE!!! CARTELS ARE TAKING OVER AND WINNING!!!

Anonymous said...

IF PEOPLE THINK THAT CALDERON IS WINNING THE WAR THEN WHY IS THERE STILL DRUGS BEING DISTRIBUTED HERE IN THE U.S. (COKE, HEROIN, METH)AND IN RECORD AMOUNTS?

Anonymous said...

How can you win a war where all the RULES apply only to Law Enforcment,bribrey,terror,psyco ops,indescriminate killing of women,children,familys,relatives,posting torture dismemberment videos,etc. on and on used daily by Criminal gangs in Mexico, these gangs are holding the entire country HOSTAGE. IT is a joke to think conventional law enforcment can work in todays Mexico. We all know local and many state police are hopelessly corrupted, the Media is silenced,the courts and prisons are almost worthless, WHAT THE F HAS MEXICO GOT TO WORK WITH?? Mexico can upgrade but it will take National Political will,it is doubtful that Mexico has that will,WE ARE ALL HOPING.

Anonymous said...

IF PEOPLE THINK THAT CALDERON IS WINNING THE WAR THEN WHY IS THERE STILL DRUGS BEING DISTRIBUTED HERE IN THE U.S. (COKE, HEROIN, METH)AND IN RECORD AMOUNTS?..

...............
Because you Crackers need the stuff.

Anonymous said...

All that people which is thinking Mexicans and Calderon are loosing the war against cartels are
exactly wrong.

Anonymous said...

catels will win if they have all that money to buy weapons.

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