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Mexican president delivers gov't report, highlighting anti-crime battle

09-03-2010 13:56 BJT

MEXICO CITY, Sept.2 (Xinhua) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon Thursday highlighted his administration's scores in fighting organized crime in his 4th annual speech to the nation.

Addressing the nation from the National Palace, he talked a lot about fighting organized crime, a battle he started days after taking office.

Calderon compared campaigns against organized crime and poverty to the country's independence struggle of 1810 and the revolution of 1910.

"The fight has cost human lives, including those of citizens who were not part of the conflict... We will keep going forward until we achieve the secure Mexico that we all want," he spoke of the anti-crime campaign, during which some 28,000 have been killed so far.

He said police and armed forces have seized 10 billion U.S. dollars worth of marijuana, cocaine and heroin over the last three and a half years, which he said was equivalent to 1,500 doses for every Mexican aged 15-30.

Some 120 bosses of criminal groups have been captured during that period, including "three of the most important" this year alone, he added.

This week, the Mexican authorities arrested Edgar Valdez, alias La Barbie, a 37-year-old drug lord trying to build his own smuggling cartel and linked to Mexico's most wanted man, drug billionaire Joaquin Guzman.

"We are facing the most unscrupulous criminals who have enormous resources no longer just from trafficking drugs, but also seeking criminal and legal income in the communities they seek to subject," Calderon said.

The president said gangsters are turning to fiercer violence because the stable trade of smuggling drugs into the United States has been weaiened by the government's crackdown.

Last week, Mexican authorities found the bodies of 72 murdered migrants who had been held for ransom in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

During the nationally televised address, Calderon also stressed that his government has done much in expanding social security and healthcare coverages.

During past 12 months, the government has raised its social coverage to include every person suffering extreme poverty in the country, he said.

"During 2010 the number of households covered by the Opportunities program rose from five million to 6.5 million," he said.

"It now covers more than all the Mexicans living in extreme poverty," he added.

The president also underlined a four-year-long campaign to boost healthcare coverage, including programs that offer medical insurance to the families of all children born in Mexico under his administration and to all pregnant women.

He said that more than 37 million people received medical assistance through the people's insurance.

Calderon also said that under his administration, the government had repaired or built from scratch some 1,800 hospitals or clinics.

On education, he said that almost 30 percent of the young people have

access to college education, while only 24 percent of the people aged between 18 to 23 can go to university when he took office

"We have increased the coverage, so we have created 75 new universities and expanded 33 of the already existing," he said.

Calderon said this year more than six million scholarships will be given to children and young people, that is, "one of each four students of public schools will continue studying thanks to this help".

In other fields, Calderon listed the country's achievements in digital TV national service, carbon dioxide emissions, reforestation, economic recovery, fiscal responsibilities and infrastructure.

The process of switching to digital broadcasting in the country will begin next year and end in 2015, he said.

"I have decreed the beginning of a switch from analogue to digital television broadcasting," he said.

"Mexicans will have a better open television signal. It will also free up the 700 megahertz band for fourth generation mobile technology. We Mexicans will enter a new technological era."

On environmental issues, Calderon said that his country had prevented the emission of 20 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) this year and was on the way to reaching the target of a net emission cut of 50 million tons of CO2 by the end of his office term.

He also said during his administration, there have been 3.5 million hectares of reforested areas.

Calderon said that according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mexico was losing 235,000 hectares of forest per year and "the figure was reduced to 150,000 hectares per year, from 2006 to 2009 and this year it will be much lower."

Speaking of the economy, Calderon said that the economy recovery in the country is underway, but there is still much to do to generate the employment.

Calderon underscored the country's low interest rates, inflation controls among others.

He said that in the first eight months of this year, his government generated 630,000 new jobs and his country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecasted at 4 percent for this year.

He also said his country's tax collection increased 17 percent and registered foreign reserves for more than 106 billion U.S. dollars, more than double of Mexico's external debt.

Mexico's exports advanced 36 percent, the biggest annual increase in 20 years, and the country attracted 70 billion U.S.dollars in foreign direct investment, he said.

Meanwhile, the president stressed the fiscal responsibility, in the face of the severe financial recession that began in 2008.

"This year we have seen a 17 percent increase in state income compared with the same period last year...," he said.

On infrastructure, he said that Mexico is promoting an infrastructure program of about five percent of the GDP, the biggest investment in Mexico's history in this sector.

He also said that his administration is working on a hydraulic tunnel in the east of Mexico Valley, 62 km long and 7 km in diameter, describing it as "one of the biggest works of its kind in the world".

Calderon said the hydraulic plan is also aimed at preventing flooding in southeast Mexico and supplying more drinking water to the northwest and some cities in central Mexico.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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