I couldn't agree more about the failure of Calderón's communications strategy. It seems as though they gave very little thought to how to present security policy to the nation, and major PR problems inevitably turn into political problems, which inevitably turn into policy problems.
In August 2010, the Calderón administration hired a hot-shot advisor from Britain, Simon Anholt, the inventor of the phrase "nation-branding," to try to solve this exact problem. When I contacted him about Mexico's image problem, Anholt admitted his hands were full.
"I've worked in more than 40 countries during the last 20 years and I have never come across such a gulf between reality and perception [as in Mexico]," he said. "It's a country of great and growing importance in the world order, yet it seems saddled with another country's image: one that's much poorer, smaller, weaker, more troubled and in every way, less dignified. Reputation always lags behind reality by years -- in some cases by generations -- and during the last few years, Mexico has to some extent become defined by its problems."
The thread linking all of Mexico's problems under Calderón has been his administration's failure to communicate: to explain exactly what it is trying to achieve; to describe those achievements, when they do occur, to Mexico and to the rest of the world; and to account for its mistakes, of which there have been many.