Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mexican public security survey gives poor marks to Calderón, and reveals little confidence in Peña Nieto

But Mexicans still heavily favor use of military forces in drug war

*Updates below*
Guadalajara -
A national survey of Mexican attitudes on public security has generated poor scores for both the country's outgoing and incoming presidents. The survey was conducted Oct. 12-21 by the respected polling firm Consulta Mitofsky, and the results were published today.

The key finding was that 55% of Mexicans believe the Calderón administration's drug war, which was launched six years ago on Dec. 11, 2006, has not been successful. Almost 32% said the planned strategy of president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, who takes office Dec. 1, won't produce any better results. Although many political commentators claimed during last spring's campaign that Peña Nieto would embrace a whole new approach to fighting the drug cartels and organized crime in Mexico, the victorious candidate has made it clear that his drug war plans will be virtually a carbon copy of Felipe Calderón's, with continued emphasis on the use of troops and federal police forces.

Eighty percent of respondents in the Mitofsky survey said that security is worse today than it was a year ago, and 32% said the topic was their most important concern. Next on the list were business and economic worries (19%).

Only 31% of those polled said Felipe Calderón had achieved his domestic security goals, while 38% were of the opinion - for reasons unclear - that under Enrique Peña Nieto the internal situation will improve. But another 62% said they expected the incoming president to fare much the same as his outgoing predecessor, or said they didn't know.

On one survey question there was heavy agreement. Although Mexicans are plainly disappointed by the sluggish pace of the drug war, and what many feel is the lack of palpable strategic results, 69% reported that they fully support Calderón's decision to use military forces as the vanguard of his organized crime offensive. In a similar survey reported last summer, the U.S. based Pew Research Center said its poll showed eight out of 10 Mexicans favor the use of the army to spearhead the drug war, a tactic which the nation's next president plainly has no intention of abandoning, regardless of what critics of the militarization strategy may say. That will surely please many in the U.S.

Dec. 2 - In Querétaro they trust the Army, not the police
Nov. 27 - Mexico prepares to change the guard; Peña Nieto meets with Obama on eve of swearing in

Nov. 23 - The government has announced that through September, the six year drug war claimed 395 members of the Mexican armed forces, with another 137 missing and unaccounted for.
Nov. 21 - Andrés Manuel López Obrador: A "band of criminals" is about to take the reins in Mexico
Nov. 20 - U.S. State Dept. renews general travel alert for Mexico
Nov. 8 - Mexico's incoming PRI government pays little attention to U.S. marijuana legalization efforts

"Don't throw us back," Calderón urges Peña Nieto
Peña Nieto's Colombian drug war consultant is a U.S. informant, Mexican journal claims
Mexican voters got suckered on drug war

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