Calderón: The Army Will Fight the Drug War 'til My Last Day in Office

On the heels of the Mexican president’s recent statements favoring a debate to examine drug legalization, Felipe Calderón today reiterated that the current policy of having the Armed Forces enforce the drug laws will continue until his term ends in late 2012.

The daily El Universal quotes the president from a speech at the military base known as Campo Marte as saying:

"What we need is that once this policing stage is over, is for the federal and local authorities to have the strength and the force to be there in absence of the Army. Today, unfortunately, that can't be done…

“My commitment to security will remain until the last day of my government, and if to fulfill that commitment I have to order the Armed Forces as mandated by the Constitution, I will continue doing so.”

Speaking at Campo Marte in Mexico City, Calderón stated that the Mexican Army is likely to continue to battling drug trafficking groups in the country until his term ends in November 2012.

Since 2006, Calderón has deployed the Armed Forces in drug enforcement and drug war related violence has correspondingly increased. An estimated 28,000 people have been killed as casualties of the war on drugs since Calderón took office, and 2010 is could be the deadliest year yet, with more than 7,000 lives lost since January 1. That's almost the total casualty rate for 2009. In fact, the only place in the country that has been immune from the rapid surge in violence is Mexico City, a federal district where the Army is prohibited from law enforcement activities.

Narco News has also reported that there have been more human rights complaints against the military during Calderón’s administration than every before. Out of the 4,035 complaints that have been reported since 2006, 56 members of the armed services have been disciplined since that time.

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Erin Rosa is a writer from Denver, Colorado based in the Western Hemisphere.