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New Left Review 70, July-August 2011


Tony Wood

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. [1] Anabel Hernández, Los señores del narco, Grijalbo: Mexico 2010, $279 (mxn), paperback 588 pp, 978 607 310 104 2 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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