Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jun 2010
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2010 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: William Booth, Washington Post


Blames US for Violence Problem

MEXICO CITY -- An explosion of drug violence in Mexico has claimed
hundreds of lives in the past five days and prompted the country's
president to issue a 5,000-word manifesto warning that the fight
against organized crime must continue "or we will always live in fear."

As the latest spasm of killing has spread across the country, cartel
assassins, local thugs, and federal troops have died in running gun
battles, highway ambushes, and prison melees. On Tuesday, shooting
broke out in the tourist town of Taxco. Mexican Army troops, acting on
a tip, raided a house and a firefight ensued, leaving 14 gunmen dead.

The string of attacks since Thursday has included the execution-style
slaying of 19 drug addicts in a rehabilitation clinic and several
assaults targeting police, including an ambush that killed 12 federal

In an editorial printed in newspapers Monday, President Felipe
Calderon defended his drug war as vital to the country's national
security. More than 23,000 people have died in drug-related violence
since December 2006, when Calderon first sent the military into the
streets, according to a government report.

The Mexican president directly blamed the United States.

"The origin of our violence problem begins with the fact that Mexico
is located next to the country that has the highest levels of drug
consumption in the world," Calderon wrote. "It is as if our neighbor
were the biggest drug addict in the world."

The cartels, Calderon said, have grown rich and bold -- fed with
billions of dollars from the United States. Specialists estimate that
$10 billion to $25 billion in drug profits flow to Mexico each year
from the north. About 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United
States passes through Mexico. Meanwhile, many of the weapons the
cartels use are smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

Calderon said Mexico would be in a worse state if his administration
had not taken on criminal gangs. It is a battle that is supported by
the Obama administration and Congress, which has dedicated $1.3
billion in aid.

The Mexican newspapers that keep running tallies of drug-related
violence reported last week that a record was set when 85 people died
in a 24-hour period. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake