Perhaps trying to prove he's a man of action, Felipe Calderon recently ramped up Mexico's war on drugs by sending the army into his home state of Michoacan, where executions and beheadings have become disturbingly common. The president's action followed a less-than-successful scheme dubbed "Mexico Seguro" that was rolled out by his predecessor in an effort to secure northern Mexico. The results were unspectacular. It also was reported in the Reforma newspaper earlier this week that the recent operation in Michoacan has yet to do anything to stop executions in the state.
Fred Rosen, a columnist with the Miami Herald, Mexico edition, wrote almost mournfully in the opening paragraph of his last piece, "We can only wish the government well. But somehow it seems like we've been down this road before with precious little to show for it."
I could go on with calamitous examples of people's brushes with the war on drugs - some of them highly-amusing, like the mariachi musicians in Guadalajara who told me business was lousy in recent years because many of the narcotics traffickers (previously their best customers) in the city had moved on to other places, including prison. Other stories are just tragic. A former classmate from Calgary was shot dead outside a suburban Guadalajara nightclub in 2004. The main suspect is the son of a notorious drug kingpin.
It somehow seems that no matter what the Mexican government does, it won't abate this situation as the traffickers become increasingly sophisticated and brutal in their tactics. There's also a consumption problem in the U.S. and until that diminishes - or drugs are legalized - Mexico will keep on suffering.