Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hillary Clinton Arrives in Mexico, Says US Bears 'Co-Responsibility' for Mexican Drug Violence

Today Hillary arrived in Mexico! According to the State Department website, at the invitation of Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Secretary Clinton is traveling to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico and is planning to discuss a broad range of bilateral and international issues of mutual interest, including cooperation under the Merida Initiative, while she is there.

The Hill-jet landed late Wednesday morning at Mexico City's busy Benito Juarez International Airport and taxied into the presidential hangar.

There she was greeted by her Mexican counterpart, Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, and then whisked off in a motorcade for private talks with Espinosa and President Felipe Calderón at Los Pinos, the presidential mansion in Mexico City's sprawling Chapultepec Park.

En route to the Mexican capital, she spoke to reporters on the drug trade. Clinton said that some 30 years of U.S. efforts to curb drug demand, including law enforcement and anti-addiction efforts, have largely failed, and that U.S. drug demand and weapons smuggled from the United States are fueling Mexico's drug wars.

As she began a series of meetings with President Calderon and other officials centering on drug violence, Clinton candidly acknowledged that U.S. demand for illegal drugs is in large measure responsible for the problem.

"We are. How could anybody conclude any differently? Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the death of police officers, soldiers and civilians. So yes, I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility."

In her remarks to the press, she also praised the Calderon administration's performance in the drug fight, saying that Mexican forces are often out-gunned by drug gangs armed with military-style weapons bought in the United States.

She said the Obama administration intends to devote hundreds more agents and more effective equipment to stem gun-running across the border and curb illegal purchases in U.S. gun shops by so-called "straw men" fronting for Mexican criminals and the US must avoid protectionist policies that could harm Mexico as it deals with the economic crisis.

Hillary confirmed that the Obama administration is making progress with the U.S. Congress in efforts to end a dispute over access to the United States by Mexican truckers that has spurred heavy Mexican tariffs against American goods.

Of course Hillary's visit makes way for the intensive U.S.-Mexico dialogue to continue on all of these issues. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will visit Mexico early next month along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. And President Obama goes to Mexico City in mid-April to meet Mr. Caldron before both leaders attend the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

No comments:

Post Your Comment Below:

Grab this Widget ~ Blogger Accessories