Security Chief Slams Mexico's Drug-War Strategy
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Mexico's top national security official has slammed the nation's US-backed drug war strategies, stating that the policy of targeting cartel bosses has only worsened the violence. At today's meeting of his country's National Security Council, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong (Interior Secretary under new President Enrique Peña Nieto) said that military and police crackdowns on drug gangs have fragmented the organizations—making them even more dangerous. An estimated 63,000 lives were lost under former President Felipe Calderón's watch. Ever since 2006, when Calderón took power, "financial resources dedicated to security have more than double[d] but unfortunately crime has increased," says Osorio Chong. Although dozens of gang leaders have been captured, he argues, "We have moved from a scheme of vertical leadership to a horizontal one that has made [gangs] more violent and much more dangerous." Osorio Chong and President Peña Nieto say they'll move away from Calderón's strategy of going after cartel leaders, to focus instead on reducing homicides, kidnappings and other crimes against civilians. The new president also vows to continue to collaborate with the US, aiming to reduce violence through boosting the job market and social programs. But many still doubt that Peña Nieto's tactics will differ much from his predecessor's.