08 October 2010

How Does Mexican Government View Their Slide Into Anarchy?

More favorably than we do, apparently.

President Felipe Calderon calls Tijuana a success in his four-year-old war on drug cartels, though he is unsure that making the border city safer has reduced the flow of drugs to the United States.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Mexican leader noted that many of the city's crime bosses have been captured in the past two years and said far fewer residents are being kidnapped and extorted. A key ingredient to its success, he said, is that its people trust authorities to help keep them safe — more than in other cities plagued by violence.

"Tijuana went from being a city seized by terror and focused only on questions of crime to a city motivated by hope and focused on being competitive," Calderon said late Thursday.

Calderon took some credit, saying authorities from different levels of government work together more closely than in other parts of the country. But he said Tijuana, which borders San Diego, sets itself apart largely by the spirit of its people.

"It would be unfair to claim that the people have hope because of the government," he said.

Calderon drew a sharp contrast with Ciudad Juarez, where violence between rival gangs has spun out of control across the border from El Paso, Texas. He said local authorities have unfairly blamed him for the city's problems, even after he dispatched thousands of troops and federal police into the city in 2008 to defuse a showdown between Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Juarez cartel boss Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.

"In Ciudad Juarez, unfortunately, there has not been the same degree of collaboration and constructive attitude that we have found in other places, like Tijuana," he said. "Instead of everyone working together, they preferred the easy way out by blaming everything on the federal government and the president."

By: Brant

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