Candidates offering little new in drug war

June 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM
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MEXICO CITY, June 24 (UPI) -- Candidates in Mexico's upcoming presidential election say they want to stop the violent drug war but analysts say no one is offering a new strategy.

The Los Angeles Times said the election to replace outgoing President Felipe Calderon is unlikely to reshape the drug war that has terrorized Mexico.

"There is nothing that they are talking about that would dramatically change the current situation," Ana Maria Salazar, a security analyst in Mexico, was quoted as saying.

Enrique Pena Nieto, who is leading in the polls, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, that led the country for seven decades. The Los Angeles Times said the party was known to have made deals with drug cartels in exchange for peace. Nieto says his government has changed, although several former governors from his party are under investigation for working with cartels.

"We will not have a truce with those who attack the life, liberty and property of our citizens," said Pena Nieto.

Pena Nieto said he would center his attention on fighting homicides, kidnapping and extortion. He said Mexico's army, which has fought the drug war, will remain on the street as long as needed to quell the violence.

The Times said Pena Nieto's plan to create a force of 40,000 soldiers under civilian command that would gradually replace the army's drug war efforts sounds very similar to a national police agency being developed by Calderon.

Another presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who represents leftist parties, says he wants to tackle the root causes of the drug business, while candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota of Calderon's National Action Party proposes expanding the federal police force to nearly four times its current size.

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