Mexican Candidates Would Yank Army From Drug War

US concerned over frontrunner Peña Nieto
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2012 8:37 AM CDT
Mexican Candidates Would Yank Army From Drug War
Presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) greets supporters at a campaign rally in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, Thursday, June 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Mexico will choose a new leader on July 1—and whoever it is, the country's drug war is set for big changes. The three frontrunners say they want the army to drop its anti-drug efforts, arguing that its involvement, championed by current President Felipe Calderon, has resulted in increased violence. Leading candidate Enrique Peña Nieto wants to prioritize cutting violence over catching cartel bosses and halting trafficking, the New York Times reports.

Another top candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, echoes his thinking: "Results will be measured not by how many criminals are captured, but by how stable and secure the communities are." US officials are concerned about Mexico's potential new direction. "Will there be a situation where the next president just turns a blind eye to the cartels, ceding Mexico to the cartels, or will they be a willing partner with the United States to combat them?" an Arizona congressman recently asked. Peña Nieto is of particular concern; his Institutional Revolutionary Party, in power for most of the 20th century, was seen as corrupt and accommodating to traffickers. The candidate says his party has cleaned up its act. (Read more Mexico stories.)

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