Four years after Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an aggressive campaign against the drug cartels in his country, an estimated 35,000 people have died from the fighting, including more than 2,000 law enforcement officers, and there are no signs the violence has abated.
The ambush of two U.S. special agents in Mexico last month, the December murder of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona by Mexican bandits and the beheading of a Phoenix man in October by Mexican cartel members are the latest signs that the drug-fueled violence has even become a direct threat to Americans.
Despite a renewed sense of urgency to bring the situation under control, however, neither President Obama nor congressional leaders seem prepared to offer more than reassurances to Calderon and Mexico to stay the course on a bloody campaign that’s largely their own.
“We are very mindful that the battle President Calderon is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle, it’s also ours,” Obama said at a news conference today. “We have to take responsibility just as he’s taken responsibility.”
But the president announced no new steps to curb more aggressively Americans’ drug addiction, which creates a lucrative market for cartels, or tighten U.S. gun laws, which provide easy access to weapons for their members.
“How long are we going to allow Mexicans to be murdered, and now Americans as well?” a member of the Mexican media asked Obama.
Obama said the United States is putting “unprecedented pressure” on the cartels but that more must be done.
“We are trying to work our way through more effective enforcement mechanisms,” he said. But “we recognize that it’s not enough and we have to do more.”
The United States is the top consumer of Mexican heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. And as much as 90 percent of all cocaine sold in the United States enters the country through Mexico, the State Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs recently reported.
Obama: Mexico’s Drug War is ‘Also Ours’
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