Mexico could enter a new phase of "understandings" between officials and criminal organizations in the wake of former President Felipe Calderon's failed "war" on the country's drug cartels, National Autonomous University of Mexico professor Alan Arias Marin told Efe.

"There are not going to be out and out negotiations, obviously not, it is unthinkable, but practical ententes, yes," the professor of political philosophy said.

Arias, who also writes for the Milenio newspaper, just published a new book, titled "Felipe Calderon. Debilidades y fortalezas de un gobierno" (Felipe Calderon. Weaknesses and Strengths of a Government) (Gernika, 2012), that analyzes the Calderon administration's policies.

"The government's strategy catalyzed the conflict. It escalated it, extended it and created the conditions so that the most violent and armed part of organized crime would move into other types of crimes," such as kidnapping and extortion, Arias said.

New President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on Dec. 1 and belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will make "public safety" the priority and no longer focus "so much on going after the cartel leaders," Arias said.

"That, in very general terms, could in the medium term begin to lead to a reduction in the violence," Arias said.

More than 50,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when Calderon militarized the war against the country's cartels. 

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