Mexican President Felipe Calderon has ramped up the war against the drug gangs that plague some Mexican cities. The result is an escalation of violence that threatens to spin out of control:
Since coming to office in December 2006, Calderon has sought to revamp and professionalize the federal police force, using it, with the army, to mount huge interventions in cities and states once controlled by drug traffickers.
The result has been mayhem: a street war in which no target has been too big, no attack too brazen for the gangs.
Opposition politicians and even some police officials have begun to question whether the president's ambition has exceeded his grasp, with dangerous and destabilizing consequences for a country that shares a 3,200-kilometer, or 2,000-mile, border with the United States. Bush administration officials have said Calderón's efforts might founder unless the U.S. Congress approves a $1.4 billion package of equipment and training over three years for the Mexican police.
Top security officials who were once thought untouchable have been gunned down in Mexico City, four in the last month alone. Drug dealers killed another seven federal agents this year in retaliation for drug busts in border towns. Others have died in shootouts.