Saturday, August 30, 2008
Mexicans demand accountability on drug violence
The more than 150,000 protesters who marched in Mexico on Saturday to protest the government's seeming inability to stop a wave of drug-related kidnappings and murders across the country have the right idea. Tell the government what the citizens need and, if the people in power can't or won't deliver, kick them out. The protesters want President Felipe Calderon to fulfill his pledges to crack down on the drug-related crime that has terrorized law-abiding people across the country, including the capital, Mexico City, where tens of thousands marched. More than 2,300 have been killed in drug-related murders this year, according to the Reuters international news service. Authorities blame the violence and kidnappings on drug gangs battling for control of smuggling routes. Kidnappings rose 40 percent between 2004 and 2007, according to official statistics, Reuters said. Authorities acknowledge 751 kidnappings in Mexico last year, but an independent crime research institute said the real number could be above 7,000. Calderon dispatched 25,000 troops and federal police to battle the drug cartels after he took office in December 2006, but the killings have increased, Reuters said. If government officials in an oil-rich country with unlimited resources are too inept or too corrupt to defeat the drug gangs, it's time for a change.