But while many criminal leaders have been captured or killed, a decade of confrontation has failed to substantially improve the nation’s security situation.
On December 11, 2006, days after being sworn in, Mexico‘s then-President Felipe Calderón announced that his administration was deploying thousands of federal troops to combat organized crime in his home state of Michoacán.
Interior Minister Francisco Javier Ramírez Acuña said at the time that “the battle against organized crime is only just beginning, and it will be a fight that will take time.”
Vigilante groups — which have long posed a dilemma for local authorities — continue to operate in the area. Several such groups are suspected of participating in criminal activities, rather than combating them.
And despite the recent capture of several top leaders, the dominant local criminal organization, the Knights Templar, appears as willing as ever to directly confront the authorities, reportedly downing a government helicopter during a September security operation.
In many ways, Michoacán is a microcosm of the larger problem, as high levels of violence persist at the national level, even areas where the government has spent millions on security. The months of August and September were the deadliest in Mexicoin almost 20 years, with organized crime estimated to account for nearly 60 percent of the more than 15,000 homicides recorded so far this year.
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The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the San Miguel Times.