Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexico's president offers to meet with anti-violence movement

Saturday, May 14, 2011 |




President Felipe Calderon says he would like to try to bridge the gap with organizers of the March for Peace, which drew tens of thousands of Mexicans to the streets to demand a new strategy in the drug war.

A day after tens of thousands of Mexicans joined in anti-violence protests, President Felipe Calderon offered Monday to meet with organizers to explain a government drug war that has produced growing worry as deaths climb.

In televised comments, Calderon said talks could help bridge the gap between his administration and leaders of Sunday's March for Peace, which drew crowds of violence-weary people to the streets to appeal for a new crime strategy.

Calderon offered no sign of backing away from his administration's military-led crackdown against drug cartels. The conservative president, under fire amid widespread carnage, has insisted that yielding to the country's violent drug traffickers is not an option.

"We can agree or disagree," Calderon said. "Of course that doesn't exclude the possibility and the responsibility to dialogue, to listen to each other and understand each other."

Many Calderon critics hoped the Mexico City protest might mark a turning point in the 4-1/2-year-old drug war, which has killed more than 34,000 people since the president deployed troops to tackle crime groups. Most victims have died in fights between rival gangs over control of lucrative drug-smuggling routes to the United States.

Calderon did not address a key demand of the protesters — the resignation of Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico's public-safety secretary. A Calderon spokesman later praised Garcia Luna's role in leading improvements of the federal police.

In a separate manifesto, organizers called on the government to solve slayings and disappearances; drop its "war strategy" in favor of a focus on citizen safety; battle corruption, impunity and money-laundering; and address social ills.

The protest was led by Javier Sicilia, a left-leaning poet and writer whose 24-year-old son was slain in the city of Cuernavaca in March alongside six other victims.

The demonstration increased pressure on Calderon. But some commentators said Sicilia did not offer clear alternatives and asked why he demanded the firing of Garcia Luna, for example, but not other military or political leaders.

On Monday, there were new signs of violence. Authorities in the northern state of Durango reported discoveries of 11 bodies in a mass grave in the state's capital. At least 168 bodies have been unearthed there in a series of clandestine burial sites.

In addition, officials said six human heads were dumped next to a school in the capital, also named Durango.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, where graves have yielded nearly 200 bodies recently, 12 gunmen and a Mexican marine were killed in a shootout at Falcon Lake, a dammed stretch of the Rio Grande straddling the border with Texas.

The gunfight erupted Sunday after Mexican naval personnel found a camp thought to belong to the Zetas drug gang, the Mexican navy said Monday.

Falcon Lake is where a U.S. citizen, David Hartley, was reported by his wife to have been pursued and shot by gunmen while jet-skiing last year. His body was not found. The area is used to smuggle drugs into the United States.

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4 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

The conservative president, under fire amid widespread carnage, has insisted that yielding to the country's violent drug traffickers is not an option.

Well I gotta agree with him here but I think he really gotta focus on sorting out at least some of the corruption before he carries on I mean how can you fight when you can't even trust who your supposed to?

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to lease a C130 gunship from the United States and hunt down these convoys of very noticeable SUVs?

Anonymous said...

Makes no sense, what are they trying to accomplish?? From what I know cartels are killing eachother and or innocent victims and bystanders and attacking police...if anything the presence of federal, military and some state help quell some violence...what they think if military and a lot of federal forces withdraw they won't have violence?? It'll be even worse people killing whoever and whenever without worrying about getting arrested or going to jail! So stupid, its not the military forces making it worse its the drug cartels, let's be real! Lucky you got forces like federal, military, state risking their life rather than getting ghosted and knowing they won't find your killer cause nobody cares and or will pursue anything....

Anonymous said...

Digan lo que digan,hagan lo que hagan y aun cuando esta pesadilla de horror termine, felipe calderon (si con minusculas) sera el ser que usurpo la presidencia de Mexico mas ODIADO, mas nefasto, mas asqueroso no solo de los mexicanos sino de todos aquellos que sufrieron la perdida sin sentido de un ser querido.Por que cualquier ser humano que tenga 2 dedos de frente nunca se podra creer que esto lo causa "el narcotrafico".No son traficantes los 72 migrantes de San Fernando, como tampoco lo son los 183 que dicen, (que son muchos mas} en las llamadas "narcofosas" ya no solo ahi sino por todo Mexico.Por que narcofosas? Pues por que asi se les da la gana nombrarlas. estan acostumbrados a darle atole con el dedo a un pueblo miserable, igorante que ellos mismos crearon con su mezquina hambre de poder y dinero creyendo que nada mas ellos tienen derecho a "merecer" las riquezas de un pais como Mexico. MALDITOS! Malditos, Maldecidos por miles, millones de gentes, a ver que expliquen por que es la gran mayoria gente humilde y pobre la que muere en raras ocasiones alguien como el hijo de Javier Sicilia que fue una "equivocacion" no es por que la gente humilde ande en el narcotrafico! Mentira!!!Aaayyy Mexico como me dueles pero mas les va a doler a ellos... Los corruptos y sucios gobernantes cuando PAGUEN como merecen lo que te han hecho.

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