January 29, 2014
Mexico’s government on Tuesday created an anti-kidnapping agency after abductions soared 20 percent last year despite President Enrique Pena Nieto’s vow to reduce the crime.
The new department will answer to the country’s interior ministry, where Pena Nieto has centered his anti-crime programs after his predecessor relied on police and the military.
Government data showed that reported kidnapping jumped to 1,695 cases last year compared with 1,407 in 2012 in an embarrassment for Pena Nieto, who said he would shift the government’s focus from hunting drug lords to reducing kidnappings and extortion.
Since taking office in December 2012, Pena Nieto has sought to draw public attention to his efforts to reform the economy and away from grisly violence that has killed more than 80,000 people since his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, launched a military offensive against drug cartels seven years ago.