President Felipe Calderón took office in Mexico with the hopes of being the “employment president.” Six years later, his administration had a different outcome because of the challenges he faced, what he did, what he was able to do and what they did not let him do.
Let’s not forget that when he took office, Mexico was seen as a failed state where drug mafias were in control of entire towns and regions of the country.
The decision to use the armed forces in an open war on drugs was one of the most controversial, risky and courageous decisions of his term.
The number of people who died or disappeared is outrageously high; but doing nothing was not an option and negotiating with criminals was not a choice either.
As far as the economy, Calderón had to tackle one of the biggest international economic crises since the Great Depression.
However, he achieved good macroeconomic results, improved the trade balance, grew the GDP and attracted investment. Although the middle class expanded, a large sector of the population is extremely poor, highlighting what is still left undone.
The result of the presidential election showed a high level of frustration with Calderón and mainly with 12 years of National Action Party (PAN) governments. The high expectations that brought the PAN to power after seven decades of PRI rule were not fulfilled. Therefore, last July Mexicans returned to the PRI.
There is no doubt that the Calderón administration was marked by the violence of organized mafias and his struggle against them. Nevertheless, he leaves behind a stable economy with the conditions for the new president to be able to implement projects to ensure the benefits reach more Mexicans.