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SILVER AND LEAD
On 11 December 2006, barely a week after his inauguration as Mexican President, Felipe Calderón sent 7,000 troops and police to the western state of Michoacán to destroy marijuana plantations and search out traffickers.  This was the first deployment of a ‘war on drugs’ that soon escalated dramatically: within two months, a total of 30,000 security personnel had been sent into 8 of the country’s 32 states, mostly in the north of the country. Four years later, Calderón’s war can only be classed as a murderous catastrophe: a staggering 40,000 people have died, over 6,000 of them in the first half of 2011 alone—equivalent to a casualty rate of more than 30 a day—and yet the flow of drugs and weapons continues unabated, and the tide of killings, kidnappings and extortion has spread still further.
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