Mexico's upcoming presidential election has been overshadowed in the international press by the latest gruesome reports from a drug war that has left decapitated corpses lining Mexico's highways, adding to a death toll of more than 50,000 in the past five years. As Malcolm Beith writes in Foreign Policy, Mexico's economy has continued its dynamic growth under outgoing President Felipe Calderón, despite the instability and violence. But this growth may not continue if the government proves unable to control the drug cartels that have been besieging cities and threatening the authority of the state.
All three presidential hopefuls have pledged to continue the drug war -- with U.S. support -- regardless of the cost. Here, we take a look at the grave challenges Mexico's next president will face.
Calderón launched his controversial military offensive against Mexico's powerful drug cartels in December 2006. Since then, 22 of the 37 highest-ranking narcos have been caught or killed, and more than $10.9 billion worth of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin has been seized -- but no one is arguing the drug traffic is under control. The illicit trade is estimated to still be worth $13 billion annually, according to the BBC. Above, a state police officer moves into position during a confrontation with members of a gang in the neighborhood of Casa Blanca in Xalapa, on Jan. 13, 2011.
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