U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone said in presenting his new film "Savages," in which he takes on the realities of the drug trade between Mexico and the United States, that Mexican President Felipe Calderon is responsible for the "nightmare" his country is going through.

"Calderon is a disaster. He was equivalent to George Bush. It's a shame because he brought what George Bush brought to this country, he brought a nightmare to Mexico by declaring war on these guys. Four cartels became seven cartels and there is more violence. It's like a civil war," the director said Friday.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, defeated center-left opponent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the July 2006 balloting by a mere 0.56 percent of the vote amid accusations of fraud.

About Calderon's win in that neck-and-neck finish, Stone said "he did steal the election. I have no doubt that Obrador won."

He also said "I hope the new party guy is much more pragmatic and gets down to decriminalizing drugs with the U.S."

Shortly after taking office in December 2006, Calderon militarized the struggle against Mexico's numerous well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.

The strategy has led to the killings and arrests of cartel kingpins, but drug-related homicides have increased every year since the military offensive was launched and total more than 50,000 during his tenure.

As for Calderon's successor to be decided in the Mexico's July 1 presidential election, nearly all the polls conducted so far have shown Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in the lead, but Lopez Obrador, the candidate of a leftist coalition, has been gaining ground and the election could produce a photo-finish as in 2006.

The director, winner of three Oscars, presented the movie "Savages" in Los Angeles accompanied by Puerto Rico's Benicio del Toro and Mexicans Salma Hayek, Demian Bichir and Sandra Echeverrea, who believe the feature film goes beyond the usual cliches about marijuana and the drug trade.

"Savages," an adaptation of the like-named novel published in 2010 by Don Winslow, which pits two young people in Southern California, who are enjoying a dreamlike existence as "entrepreneurs" of high-quality marijuana for medicinal use, against a traditional violent drug cartel on the other side of the border.

The drug traffickers, led by a pitiless Salma Hayek, tries to impose at whatever cost her ways of doing business on the United States and finally kidnaps the girlfriend shared by the two young businessmen in order to bring them to their knees.

Her decision sets off a war that has an ending to suit all tastes.

"Savages" premieres July 6 in the United States and the cast includes John Travolta, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson and Emile Hirsch. EFE