President Felipe Calderon has officially launched the "Todos por Acapulco" program in an effort to end drug-related violence and promote development in the Mexican Pacific resort city, basing it on a project implemented in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
"I want to announce the start of the 'Todos por Acapulco' strategy, which combines the efforts of the three levels of government and civil society to make it possible for those who live in or visit the port to do so in peace and with freedom," the president said during a meeting Wednesday in the Pacific tourist destination.
Todos por Acapulco is not a "police program," Calderon said, noting that it was a social program aimed at creating opportunities via education, jobs, sports and culture.
"This is about giving kids alternatives for recreation at community centers, with no arms or drugs, no bullying, so the kids do not become users or dealers of drugs or hitmen, so they can be scholarship students, not hitmen," the president said.
High-level federal officials accompanying Calderon said the government was using the experience gained in implementing "Todos Somos Juarez," which helped create incentives and repair the social fabric, in Acapulco.
The officials, however, did not release the program's goals or disclose how much would be spent on education, sports, health and other initiatives planned in the resort city.
The security operations launched in Acapulco have helped deal with crime and violence, but the government must take other steps to address the root causes of crime, Calderon said.
The program will be launched in four neighborhoods and expanded across Acapulco later.
The La Barredora drug gang and the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco have been fighting for control of the resort city for more than a year.
Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero launched an operation involving state police and Federal Police officers to provide security in areas in Acapulco frequented by foreign and domestic tourists.
"Operation Safe Guerrero" was launched on Oct. 6, 2011, in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state.
Acapulco, a favorite among Mexican and foreign tourists for decades, has lost business to other destinations due to the violence.
At least 10 people were murdered last weekend in Acapulco, prosecutors said. EFE