Mexico's Calderon Calls on the Pope to Alleviate Drug Violence

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon invites Pope Benedict XVI to visit Mexico. He says the Pope's presence is needed more than ever as the nation reels from spiraling violence.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Sunday (May day) appealed for Pope Benedict XVI to visit Mexico, saying his nation was suffering as a result of rampant violence.

[Felipe Calderon, Mexican President]:
"Let me extend the invitation of (the) Mexican people who are suffering a lot from the violence .... they need you so much, more than ever. We are suffering."

Calderon spoke with Pope Benedict at the Beatification ceremony of late Pope John Paul II.

[Felipe Calderon, Mexican President]:
"I will leave a letter to the secretary of state for your invitation. We will be waiting for you."

More than 36-thousand people have been killed in Mexico since Calderon launched his army-led drive to crush the drug cartels in late 2006.

The drugs war is an added burden for Mexico as it slowly climbs out of recession, and Mexicans are weary of the frequent beheadings, bodies strung from bridges and other gory crimes.

Drug violence has only spiraled despite Calderon's attempt to crush drag gangs and restore law and order in the country.