The violently brutal drug war in Mexico has killed more than 55,000 people during Felipe Calderon's presidency, according to Reuters, and that is the what newly-elected Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto will inherit when he is sworn in in December.
The violence helped Peno Nieto’s (Institutional Revolutionary Party) PRI party return to power and the return of the former ruling party, which ruled Mexico for 70 years before Calderon -- and his National Action Party -- won the presidency in 2000, has led many to wonder if the party will look the other way with the cartels for promises of less violence.
PRI has had a history of corruption, and the former convictions of PRI governors for their associations with drug cartels and similar scandals have led many Mexicans to wonder if Pena Nieto’s “government won't keep up the arrests of cartel kingpins or could even turn a blind eye on trafficking if gangs tone down their bloodshed in return.”
When PRI ruled the country, there was more corruption but less drug-related violence.
But times are different now.
Because drug cartels have waged a war against the government and other cartels, some feel, according to Reuters, that “Mexico's drug cartels have become so violent, unleashing squads of gunmen with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, that the government will have to keep battling them whether it wants to or not.”
"Let it be clear. There will be no pact or treaty with organized crime," Peno Nieto said in his victory speech.
And, according to Reuters, Pena Nieto has already “brought in the respected former head of Colombia's national police, Oscar Naranjo, as a security adviser,” which has been welcomed by U.S. officials.
However, according to Reuters, “Pena Nieto will also face the same fundamental problems of the drug war as Calderon,” because “in states where troops failed to attack drug gangs, they grew in power” and in those where “troops took out high-profile drug bosses, they were replaced by their lieutenants, who were often even more violent.”
Mexico’s drug war is a complete and scary mess, but how it is resolved -- or not -- is important because parts of the drug war have already spread across the border. And, if the drug war and violence is not blunted, it may be a matter of time before the violence spreads even further north of the border -- even into American states that are not close to the border.