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Author Says Peña Nieto Drug War Strategy Is More Of The Same


Ricardo Ainslie, Author, The Fight to Save Juárez: Life in the Heart of Mexico's Drug War


An arrest last week near Nuevo Loredo and the U.S. border may give an indication of the future drug war policy of Mexican President Enrique Peña-Nieto.

The leader of the Zeta cartel, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, was arrested and the cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. in that arrest seems very familiar.

Does that mean President Peña-Nieto's statements about a new approach to Mexican drug cartels has fallen flat?

The direction of Mexico's drug war is the focus of a talk today at the Institute of the Americas on the UC San Diego campus by University of Texas professor Ricardo Ainslie.

He's the author of "The Fight to Save Juarez: Life in the Heart of Mexico's Drug War."

Ainslie says Treviño Morales' arrest suggests that the kingpin strategy hasn't been relinquished all together.

"Peña-Nieto said he was going to bring peace to Mexico by moving away from Calderon's kingpin strategy but the mechanics and characteristics haven't moved away as far as he initially hoped," he said.

Under former President Felipe Calderon, Mexican authorities went after high-level drug lords and Mexico's most wanted criminals. And by the end of Calderon's time in office more than 60,000 lives were lost.

But as Ainslie point out, while news of captures and arrests is well received, the problem is that cartels are involved in a lot of different types of crime, especially the Zetas cartel, one of the most feared and most violent.

"They have a diversified business plan. On the one hand, I think there's a sense of relief. However at the same time in Mexico, this sort of king pin strategy of taking down the leaders of cartels is the strategy that the current president Peña-Nieto and his predecessor used. And it did not solve the problem. And oftentimes, when you take down the leader, there are vying cells within those cartels, and you end up with internal warfare. So people have already been braced for greater violence, " he said.

Ainslie will be speaking tonight at U.C San Diego's Institute of the America's. The talk titled “Lessons from Mexico’s Drug War: Can the Peña Nieto Administration Change Course?” starts at 6:30 p.m.

He'll also be discussing his new book on Saturday at Barnes & Nobel in Encinitas at 3:30 p.m.

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