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Mexico presidential election could lessen drug violence

June 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mexico will choose a new president on Sunday, and while the three leading candidates are promising a new era of prosperity, many are wondering whether a new president will mean less violence in a country that's been ravaged by a militarized war against drug cartels.

"You can't take on huge thing like cartels because they are the most powerful organization in Mexico," said Charlie Minn.

Minn is a documentary filmmaker whose latest film focuses on the Mexican government's six-year campaign against the cartels, spearheaded by outgoing President Felipe Calderon.

"Countering violence with violence has been a mistake. I think you need to tame the cartels, you need to negotiate with them," said Minn.

The documentary, which opens in Irvine on Friday, is called "Murder Capital of the World." It explores the high cost of Calderon's initiative while also previewing the upcoming presidential election. Minn says this might be the "most critical vote in Mexico's history."

Many pollsters are predicting that the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will retake the presidency. The party's candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, leads by a comfortable margin in most polls.

"By the time the new administration comes in and stabilizes, chances are that violence will subside," said Octavio Pescador, the coordinator for UCLA's Latin American Institute.

"There's an assumption that the pri is better at negotiating and establishing a protocols so that the drug lords and other organized crime activities take place within the boundaries of their sphere and not interfering with society," said Pescador.