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Mexican democracy threatened by drug cartels

The Americas Post - Drug cartels give Mexican President Calderon a headache. Photo Credit: AP

Mexican President Felipe Calderon admitted on Sunday that in spite of combating drug cartels for five years, criminals today pose “an open threat” to Mexico’s democratic society.

In a speech marking the start of his sixth and last year in the presidency, Calderon said that interference in elections by drug gangs “is a new fact, a worrisome fact.”

“It is a threat to everyone,” he said.

Calderon was apparently referring to last month’s local elections in Michoacan, his home state, where traffickers and their foot soldiers intimidated voters and told people whom to vote for. Those events have led to fears of further interference in July’s presidential vote.

Calderon justified his decision to deploy the military to fight the cartels and scolded “political forces” that don’t have the “vision” to support the struggle.

“This is a problem, friends, that has been developing for decades and that is showing us its true face, a face of violence, a face of evil,” Calderon said. Violence and insecurity, he added, “are one of the greatest challenges Mexico has faced in modern history.”

Since he assumed the presidency in 2006, over 40,000 people have been killed in fighting with and among drug gangs, while thousands of other Mexicans have disappeared or fled.