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Ex-PAN boss: End Mexico's 'war experiment'

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_18097304 Ex-PAN boss: End Mexico s war experiment by Marisela Ortega Lozano / El Paso TimesPosted: 05/20/2011 12:00:00 AM
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2011

      Ex-PAN boss: End Mexico's 'war experiment'

      Posted: 05/20/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT

      A former supporter of Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Thursday called on Calderón to end his "war experiment" against the drug cartels because it is causing the loss of too many people.

      Manuel Espino Barrientos, a former congressman in Mexico and former leader of the ruling National Action Party, known as PAN, also said Calderón suffers from "presidential deafness" because he refuses to listen to his closest advisers.

      Calderón "must redefine his strategy against organized crime," Espino Barrientos said. "Deployment of federal police and Mexican troops is not the answer, since that approach has carried out a huge bloodshed in Mexico."

      Calderón, a member of PAN, will be in Juárez today. His term ends in 2012.

      Espino Barrientos spoke Thursday at the monthly meeting of La Red México-El Paso (The Network), a group of businessmen and businesswomen now established in El Paso after fleeing violence in Juárez. The meeting was at a West Side restaurant.

      He warned that Mexico may become dominated by narco-politics -- that powerful narcotics traffickers will impose their candidates for public office and not bribe the people in office already.

      "We think Calderón suffers from presidential deafness," said Espino Barrientos.

      Espino Barrientos, founder of Starting Over (Volver a Empezar) a social movement aimed at putting an end to the violence in Mexico and Juárez, urged Calderón to end "a war experiment at the expense of people's lives and pain."

      As a result of Calderón's war against drug cartels, Espino Barrientos said, 40,000 people in Mexico have been killed, and 5,400 have disappeared since 2006.

      Those are government figures, Espino Barrientos said.

      "Mexican federal police are rude, arrogant and have no regard about citizens' well-being or lives," he said. "They don't care who will be killed during a chase against suspects or criminals."

      In Juárez, 21,000 people had been displaced from that city between 2008 and 2010 because of the drug violence, he said.

      About 8,000 have been killed in Juárez since the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels began a vicious war for lucrative drug-trafficking routes into the U.S.

      One of those killed in 2010 was Espino Barrientos' nephew, Hugo Francisco Zamora Ochoa, 24, a Coronado High School graduate.

      The ex-PAN leader wants Calderón to come up with a peace plan to end the war during his visit to Juárez today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Juárez, a milestone in the Mexican Revolution that led to the resignation of Porfirio Díaz as president.

      "We are not asking President Calderón to step down," Barrientos said. "We want him to sign a peace plan to end this war without aim that has caused so much pain, sorrow and deaths in Mexico."

      Marisela Ortega Lozano may be reached at mortega@...; 542-6077.

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