The violence brought about in Mexico’s drug war may finally be reaching a plateau. At least that is the hope of many, as the nation continues its sixth year of its battle against transnational organized crime.
In an announcement last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon indicated that Mexican gang-related deaths had fallen by 15 percent in the first half of 2012. This was coupled with a 7 percent reduction in overall homicides. While perhaps little consolation given that Mexico still averages over 1,700 murders a month, these reductions allow for measured optimism about the future of Mexico’s continuing struggle against transnational organized crime.
Since the Calderon administration first launched a military offensive against transnational criminal organizations in 2006, the drug war has taken some 55,000 lives.
All eyes now look to the future as Mexico’s citizens, joined by much of the rest of the world, wait to see if changes are to come in the war on organized crime and drug trafficking when Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto takes office. The 45-year old former governor of the state of Mexico will be inaugurated in December, returning the presidency to the control of the Revolutionary Institutional Party, the same party that once ruled Mexico for 71 uninterrupted years.
Indeed, Pena Nieto faces no easy task. Reuters notes:
The president-elect has to convince Washington he will keep up the fight against trafficking, persuade Mexicans he will reduce the bloodshed and deal with drug-corruption scandals within his own [party].
Ultimately, while the drop in drug-related and homicides in Mexico offers cautious hope in Mexico’s battle against transnational organized crime, the war is far from won. Mexico’s new administration will require the continued and concerted support of the U.S. to turn hope into reality.