Mexico's presidential challenge

July 5, 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

The next president of Mexico will face one question that is more important than any other: What to do about the drug violence?

Enrique Peña Nieto 2The next president of Mexico will face one question that is more important than any other: How can the government reduce the devastating violence that has overtaken the country and claimed more than 50,000 lives in just six years?

That's the question on voters' minds as they go to the polls in Sunday's election. Yet during the three-month campaign, none of the candidates satisfactorily answered it. All four presidential hopefuls repudiated President Felipe Calderon's all-out war on the drug cartels, but they have declined to engage in a serious debate on what steps they would take to reestablish control, improve public safety or weaken the grip of the narco-traffickers on the country.

The front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, whose slogan is change, has vowed repeatedly to reduce the violence but has given little indication of how he will go about it, other than to hire the former head of Colombia's National Police as his main security advisor. Presumably, he hopes retired Gen. Oscar Naranjo will replicate the success he had in Colombia dismantling cartels. Maybe Peña Nieto also hopes to quell fears that his party will resort to its old tactics and strike a deal with drug gangs in exchange for peace.

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