Apr 2, 2012

Obama: Mexico pays a “heavy price” from narcotrafficking

El Universal (translation Americas Program) US President Barack Obama said that Mexico is paying a high price for the war waged against organized crime and drug trafficking waged by the government of Felipe Calderón.

“Mexico has paid a heavy price,” assured Obama.

He said that this is the time to worry about not only what is happening in Mexico, but also in Central America, because there are families, women, children, and innocent people who are being gunned down in the streets.

Obama noted the severity of the problem in a summit at the White House which included President Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“As for as transnational drug trafficking, I think we should worry about what happens in Mexico and Central America, because when there are families, women, innocent children being gunned down in the streets, that’s everyone’s problem, not just theirs. There is a spirit of concern and consideration between neighbors that has to form part of the logic of foreign policy.”

“The friendship between our three countries and our collaboration transcends this situation and is more fundamental than any particular party, any particular election, and that’s the message we want to convey to Mexico. I have had an excellent working relationship with Felipe, I hope to have an excellent relationship with the next Mexican president, whichever candidate becomes President, because there are underlying issues that are of common interest, economically, politically, socially, but beyond that the person to person relationships are most important and transcend party politics.”

At the meeting, President Calderón was emphatic in stating that as long as the flow of US weapons to Mexican criminal organizations continues, it will be “impossible” to stop the violence in the country.

The Mexican president assured that “if left unchecked, arms trafficking to Mexico will get worse: if the same mechanisms to prohibit the sale of assault weapons in the US in the 1990s are not reestablished, or at least registering the sale of assault weapons, not only is it going to be impossible to to end the violence in Mexico, but it may also threaten to future of American society itself.”

Calderón acknowledged the Obama administration’s effort to stem the flow of weapons, but he criticized their “controlled” transfer, referring to US operations that sent allowed guns across which ended up in the hands of criminals.

Calderón declared that there is a “much more active attitude” in the United States.

The Mexican president named the prevention of both Muammar Gaddafi’s son from establishing himself in Mexico and the assassination of the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Washington as examples of cooperation between the three nations.

Calderón noted that there are other countries with higher homicide rates than Mexico and that the country is a place where many Americans live “comfortably.” He even reminded the press that young spring breakers have fun in the country without incident. Read Spanish original.

Translation by Michael Kane, Americas Program

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