Eduardo Verdugo/AP
Demonstrators hold candles at the main Zocalo square in Mexico City during a protest
against the tide of killings, kidnappings and shootouts sweeping the country, Saturday,
Aug. 30, 2008.

Mexicans Want Calderon to Stop the Violence

September 03, 2008 11:48 AM
by Cara McDonough
Tens of thousands of people participated in peace marches across the country this weekend, protesting drug violence which has escalated since President Felipe Calderon took office.

30-Second Summary

One of Calderon’s main goals upon taking office 20 months ago was to launch a war on the drug-related violence plaguing Mexico. But his efforts, including amped-up police and military presence across the country, have not prevented an increase in the killings of police officers, public officials and civilians, and Mexicans want change, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

“Security!” protesters chanted in Mexico City, where the largest demonstrations were held this weekend. “If you can’t [do it], resign!”

In response, Calderon met Sunday with 14 civic leaders who staged the protests, and said he will set up citizens’ panels to monitor government progress, recruit better police, and equip officers with more powerful weapons.

But stopping the drug-related violence will be a major job. The Washington Post recently reported that the “savage conflict between rival cartels and the federal government … has taken more than 7,000 lives in the past 2 1/2 years.”

More than 500 police officers have died since Calderon took office. The situation has prompted some officers to quit or flee to the United States.

Many say Calderon’s methods are not working now, and will not work in the long run either. Others, like Juarez resident Bernardo Washington, say the intimidating message sent by soldiers lining the streets will work, little by little. “No one’s selling drugs in the streets anymore,” he said. “They’re scared of the power of the state.”

Headline Link: Citizens protest continued violence

Background: Calderon’s drug war

Key Player: President Felipe Calderon


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines