May 18th, 2012
Ojo in Latin America: Week’s Top News from the Americas

By Susana Hayward Soler, NewsTaco

Mexicans are so tired of drug war violence, they’re losing confidence in their government to do the job alone; many now think it would be a good idea to bring in U.S. troops. That’s according to a new poll conducted by the Dallas Morning News in conjunction with Mexico’s El Dia and El Universal newspapers. The poll found that 52 percent favored a more active U.S. role in Mexico’s drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006. And 74 percent of those asked said the U.S. wasn’t doing enough to stop the flow of arms into Mexico.

It’s a surprising find considering Mexico’s nationalistic zeal that dates back to the 1848 U.S.-Mexico war that resulted in the loss of almost half its territory.

The poll also found that Mexicans are poised to return the Institutional Revolutionary Party to power when it votes in presidential elections on July 1. Known by its PRI acronym, the party ruled Mexico for 71 years until 2000, when it voted the conservative National Action Party into the presidency with Vicente Fox and in 2006 with Felipe Calderon, whose term ends.

The U.S. has taken a more active role to combat drug trafficking in Honduras but it has set off a backlash after a fight between cocaine traffickers and a DEA commando left four people dead, the New York Times reported this week. The newspaper said the U.S. is using DEA squads called Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team, or FAST, that train and work alongside Honduran forces in isolated areas of the Central American nation.

In the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic elects a new leader on Sunday with voters choosing between a former president, Hipolito Mejia of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, and Danilo Medina, of the governing Dominican Liberation Party. Polls show Medina, 60, leads over Mejia, 70, by 5 to 10 percentage points. Both parties are center-left and neither candidate is expected to present any major political shift for the country that shares Hispaniola with Haiti.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is back in Cuba for cancer treatment and Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro is standing in, increasingly emerging as a leading candidate to succeed Chavez in the Oct. 7 presidential election should Chavez’ health deteriorate. Maduro, 49, is a good friend of Chavez and dismisses any such likelihood as “right-wing” propaganda.

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