Mexican president defends army's crime-fighting record

12:57, May 06, 2010      

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Mexico's President Felipe Calderon Wednesday defended the army's record in fighting organized crime, saying that the soldiers and sailors are fighting for freedom and justice in the country.

The remark was made during a speech in Puebla marking the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in which Mexico defeated the invading French army.

However, Calderon noted that despite the good results of their daily work, heroic efforts and sacrifices, they are still criticized by some.

Recently, the military was criticized by non-government organizations for killing innocent civilians during their efforts to crack down on organized crime.

Calderon described organized crime as being transnational, using violence, threats and terror to impose its rules. Therefore, stronger institutions are needed to preserve the integrity and security of citizens, he added.

He said the army is trying to create respect via the legitimate force of the law.

Last week, Mexico's upper legislative house, the Senate, passed a measure to the lower house to boost punishment for soldiers who defect to drug traffickers or sell information to them.

Calderon said he is sure that legislation will evaluate, analyze and enrich the legal framework to boost the action deployed by the state to ensure security.

Fighting organized crime has been a keystone of Calderon's administration, which includes the deployment of the army to the nation's most violent cities.



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