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Calderon to maintain strategies in final year

December 17, 2011

After five years in office, President Felipe Calderon will spend his final year promoting social equality, tourism and economic growth in Mexico, as well as persevering with his controversial security strategy and working to reinvigorate the world economy as head of the G-20.

Following a narrow, disputed electoral victory, Calderon took office on December 1, 2006, with the aim of turning Mexico into a safer, more equal and prosperous country.

“In health, education, housing, services for women and indigenous people, Mexico is now a fairer country than it was five years ago,” he said last week in an address to mark the start of his final year in office.

The president has endured great criticism but has not had an easy five years, faced with the economic crisis of 2008 and the swine flu epidemic of Spring 2009 which brought the country to a standstill and devastated tourism.

Calderon has also been hit hard by the death of two close friends who served as interior ministers: Juan Camilo Mouriño, who died in a plane crash in November 2009, and his successor Blake Mora, who died in a helicopter crash last month.

Earlier this year he faced further criticism after being publicly accused of having a drinking problem, but above all, Calderon will be remembered for his war on the nation’s drug cartels.

His policy of sending the military to combat organized crime has left at least 45,000 dead, while human rights organizations have criticized the many abuses committed by security forces, including torture, kidnappings and extra-judicial killings.

Of Mexico’s 37 most wanted drug-traffickers, 22 have now been captured or killed. Yet their displacement has often caused greater unrest, with subsequent power vacuums resulting in greater violence between warring factions.

Constitutionally prohibited from re-election, Calderon faces a declining level of influence as he enters his final year in office, with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) hotly tipped to reclaim the presidency after 12 years of National Action Party (PAN) rule.

While in danger of becoming a lame duck domestically, Calderon will look to maintain a level of influence internationally, as he assumes leadership of the G-20 this month, pushing for solutions to global warming and the Eurozone debt crisis.

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