Violent deaths were as common in Mexico as in Iraq in 2008. Almost 6,000 people were shot, decapitated or otherwise "disappeared" and over 700 kidnapped in the escalating battle between drug traffickers. The carnage is particularly severe in border cities like Juárez, where the death toll has reached 1,607. On Mexico's independence day, men apparently linked to drug cartels threw a pair of grenades into a festive crowd, killing eight and maiming dozens.
If the Obama administration is serious about turning the page on its relations with Latin America, it should reassess President Bush's unthinking support of the Calderón administration. Obama should recognise that there are many more effective allies in Mexican civil society - such as watchdog groups, journalists and scholars - and reach out to them in an effort to consolidate democracy in North America. It also wouldn't hurt to take radical measures to stem the southward flow of weapons and reduce drug consumption in the US.
View complete article at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jan/30/mexico-drug-trade-us