Drug Wars, Immigration on the Agenda as Clinton Heads South: Mexico Hails "New Age Of Cooperation" With U.S.

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

One day after the U.S. announced it will beef up security along its southern border, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Mexico today to discuss drug-related violence and economic issues. Clinton’s counterpart, Patricia Espinoza Castellano, said at a Mexico City press conference yesterday that the American measures are “coherent with the fight against organized crime.”

Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinoza - Photo: AP

Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinoza. (Photo: AP)

Clinton’s visit comes in advance of a trip by President Barack Obama himself, who will travel south in April to meet Mexico’s head of state, President Felipe Calderón. In response to news of growing drug cartel-related violence in Mexico –and recently in some American cities close to the border– the Obama Administration seems determined to engage and cooperate much more closely with Mexico than the Bush Administration did.

The security measures announced yesterday include sending more immigrations, customs, anti-drug and gun law enforcement officers to the border. In response Espinoza, the Mexican foreign minister, expressed hope for a renewed, closer relationship with Mexico’s northern neighbor.

Espinoza added that the security issue will feature prominently during Clinton’s visit, which she called the start of “a new age of cooperation between both governments.”

She also stated that her government will talk to Clinton about U.S. immigration policies. “We have insisted on an end to raids and to the separation of families (through deportations),” she said.

Arturo Sarukhán, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., also emphasized the “new era” theme. He noted that Clinton’s visit will be followed by others including Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano, and members of Congress. Sarukhán said this marks a change in bilateral relations “for the next months and years,” according to the Notimex news service.

The ambassador added he was “extremely impressed” by the Obama administration’s will to help the Mexican government fight organized crime “on both sides of the border.”

George W. Bush had started his presidency in a similar fashion, meeting then-Mexican President Vicente Fox soon after taking office, and vowing to collaborate with Mexico in addressing immigration. But after 9/11 the Bush administration shifted its focus, and never followed up on that promising start.

President Obama referred to the new border measures during last night’s prime time press conference. “It is very significant,” he said. “We’re sending millions of dollars in additional equipment to provide more effective surveillance. We are providing hundreds of additional personnel that can help control the border, deal with customs issues.”

The goal, he added, was to “assure the border communities in the United States are protected and you’re not seeing a spillover of violence.” He emphacized the need to control the southward flow of guns and cash, which is “what makes (the Mexican cartels) so dangerous.”

Obama again, as he has in the past, praised President Calderón “who has taken on an extremely difficult task” in fighting the cartels, in what in some regions of Mexico has come to look like all-out war.

“We’re helping the Mexican government deal with the situation,” he said.

In case the new security measures prove insufficient, he added, “then we’ll do more.”

Meanwhile, Clinton refuted the characterization of Mexico as a near-failed state that was contained in a Pentagon report published last November, and has offended many politicians and pundits in Mexico City.

“I do not agree with that,” Clinton said, according to Reforma newspaper. “That is not the position of President Obama’s Administration.”

2 comments

  1. Pingback: At the Border Security is Privilege | VivirLatino

  2. Brittancus

    Our demand for drugs is like the 11th century barbarians sweeping down on a defenseless wilting Roman Empire in 410AD. We desperately need the military on the border, as advocated by Sen. John MCain. Not a token force of FBI, ATF and DEA agents, who have not the armed effectiveness of the drug cartels. We need to revoke the “POSSE comitutus” that was enacted in 1878, that culminated the use of Federal troops, within the boundaries of the United States. Either that or an armed National guard to shoot on sight. We must accept that the drug gangs have infiltrated our borders and not only killing citizens near its perimeter, but escalated to our cities. We have been losing the battle for years and the costs would have paid for universal health care in America–for every man, women and children–including illegal aliens. Societies appetite for elicit drugs is never, ever going away.

    Peer pressure has sent our children in to multi billion detoxification centers. Thousands annually have overdosed and now lay on a stainless steel slab in the morgue. It seems a waste of police manpower and money, because narcotics are squirreled into America everyday. Drugs are in fact an endless futile war, that has no respect for any classes, race or religion in our culture. Police arrest and the next day the drug peddler is out on bail. In most major cities and even smaller communities have overcrowded county jails and prisons, incarcerating users, dealers and distributors.

    Only the legalization may answer the question, but that is unlikely because many of Americas patrician class are addicted to substance abuse. They influence the legislators in Washington, so that no law will–NEVER–pass to disinfect one of societies most costly ills. Just like the illegal immigration invasion, until gain and greed is removed from this issue–nothing will ever change? We had a chance in the Stimulus/Omnibus to address this compounding dilemma, which is sacrificing American jobs for illegal cheap labor. E-verify was tabled, by Sen.Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi because they had been intimidated. by business elitists, who would hold back campaign contributions if they didn’t kill the provision. Drugs are just another business enterprise, that will never be satisfied until we seal the border for good with armed troops?

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