Over the last two weeks, Mexican authorities in the northern state of Tamaulipas have unearthed more than 140 bodies. Many are believed to be the remains of passengers kidnapped from long-distance buses. The gruesome discoveries are just the latest reminder of the bloodshed that has overtaken some parts of Mexico.
President Felipe Calderon has responded by dispatching troops to the area to patrol the highways where migrants are often targeted by criminal gangs that operate with impunity. And last week, authorities arrested 16 local police officers believed to have shielded drug cartel members tied to the killings. But that's not enough in a country where 34,000 people have been killed since 2006 — 15,000 in the last year alone, according to Amnesty International.
There is no simple fix to Mexico's bloody drug war. Poverty, corruption and weak rule of law are all part of the problem. But judicial reforms are a good place to start.
The president recently appointed Marisela Morales, the former head of the federal organized crime unit, as the third attorney general in four years. Although her tenure will be short — because Calderon's term ends in a little over a year — she can make real and lasting changes in the attorney general's office.