Retired soldiers have been tapped to run police forces
PETATLAN, Mexico – President Felipe Calderón is rapidly escalating the Mexican army’s role in the war against drug traffickers, deploying nearly 50 percent of its combat-ready troops along the U.S-Mexico border and throughout the country, while retired army officers take command of local police and the military supplies civilian authorities with automatic weapons and grenades.
U.S. and Mexican officials describe the drug cartels as a widening narco-insurgency. The four major drug states average a total of 12 murders a day, characterized by ambushes, gun battles, executions and decapitated bodies left by the side of the road. In the villages and cities where the traffickers hold sway, daily life now takes place against a martial backdrop of round-the-clock patrols, pre-dawn raids and roadblocks manned by masked young soldiers.
Calderón’s deployment of about 45,000 troops to fight the cartels represents a historic change. Previous administrations relied on Mexico’s traditionally weak police agencies to combat the traffickers who funnel 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States. The cartels corrupted local authorities and reached tacit agreements with the national government, limiting the violence while the drugs continued to flow.
This is a story from the Washington Post and is written by Steve Fainaru and William Booth. Both of these reporters are excellent. The article is 4 pages but worth the time and effort.