Days after taking office Dec. 1, Calderón announced Operation Michoacán by sending 7,000 military and federal officers into his home state. "This is a very difficult battle,"said Army Gen. Manuel García Ruiz, who heads Operation Michoacán, at the airfield of the Lázaro Cárdenas Airport before a recent drug raid. "It will last as long as it is necessary.We should do everything we can to help Mexico - as we should Colombia.
Calderón has also opened new fronts in the border city of Tijuana and the Pacific resort town of Acapulco. He sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana and 7,600 troops and police to Acapulco this month.
The US has, thus far, voiced optimism. "We certainly are supporting [Calderón's] moves to try to do something about the issues of drug trafficking; not only does it affect his country but it affects the US as well," says Christy McCampbell, the deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Calderón has transferred 10,000 military personnel to the federal police, and promised raises to the lowest paid members of the armed forces.
Calderón has promised to root out corruption, particularly among the local police. In Tijuana, for example, the 2,300-strong local police was made to relinquish their arms when the military moved in to patrol streets and set up checkpoints.
Calderón has also voiced support of an overhaul to the legal and penal systems, cleaning up legal codes and stiffening criminal sentences, and moving toward oral trials to bring more transparency to the judiciary, says Ackerman. Currently, almost all trials are written, making them more secretive and vulnerable to corruption.
Last week, Calderón told the Financial Times newspaper that the US must do more to help Mexico achieve success. "The [US] is jointly responsible for what is happening to us ... in that joint responsibility the US government has a lot of work to do."
Michael Shifter, vice president of policy at the Inter-American Dialogue, points out parallels between Calderón's efforts and those of Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe, who has received more than $7 billion from the US in recent years for his country's war on drug trafficking. "Uribe tapped into a real sentiment that was widely held in Colombia, where insecurity had just become intolerable for people," Mr. Shifter says. "Somebody had to take charge. Calderón senses the same thing in Mexico in 2007."
Calderón has already started trumpeting security improvements. "Today Mexico has more peace and certainty than at the beginning of my term, and that fills me with satisfaction," he said recently at a press conference.
Meanwhile we watch Venezuela destroy itself.
Venezuela's Congress on Wednesday granted President Hugo Chavez powers to rule by decree for 18 months as he tries to force through nationalizations key to his self-styled leftist revolution.They should get nothing.
Opposition politician and newspaper editor Teodoro Petkoff on Tuesday wrote an editorial in his Tal Cual newspaper drawing parallels between the enabling law and Cuban Communism and European fascism in the 1930s.
Hernandez, of the Venezuelan Communist Party, rebuffed such charges.
"When our enemies say we are granting dictatorial powers to Chavez, they know that they are lying," he said.