Mexico City Gunmen slaughter 19 men at a rehab clinic. Sixteen bodies are dumped in a northern city. Twelve police officers die in an ambush. Soldiers kill 15 gunmen outside a tourist town.
All this in less than a week, yet President Felipe Calderon believes Mexico is getting a bad rap and wants to hire a public relations firm to improve its image. He might want to start with convincing his own countrymen, who are frustrated by assurances that the drug war is going well.
“No matter how much the authorities want us to believe that they are winning this fight, the reality and the perception is that, on the contrary, it’s a lost battle,” said Miguel Jimenez, 21, a student in Morelia, the capital of Calderon’s drug-plagued home state of Michoacan. “Day after day, it’s demonstrated with the increasing violence.”
Calderon passionately defended his military-led offensive against cartels this week, pledging not to withdraw the thousands of soldiers and federal police battling gangs across the country.