US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US must take part of the blame for drug-related violence in Mexico.
Speaking as she arrived in Mexico, she said America’s appetite for drugs and its inability to stop arms crossing the border were helping fuel the violence.
Her two-day visit comes a day after the Obama administration announced new measures to boost border security. Some 8,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the past two years.
On Tuesday, the White House unveiled a $700m (£475m) strategy that includes boosting security on the border, moves to stem the flow of illegal guns and drug profits from the US into Mexico, and steps to cut domestic drug consumption.
Speaking to reporters accompanying her to Mexico City, Mrs Clinton said: “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 deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.
“I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility.”
She also acknowledged that US efforts to ban drugs had so far been unsuccessful in stopping the narcotics trade. “Clearly, what we have been doing has not worked and it is unfair for our incapacity… to be creating a situation where people are holding the Mexican government and people responsible,” she said.
She is telling the truth, but not the whole truth. It is actually so bad that the CIA is involved:
Drug-related violence in Mexico is escalating at an alarming rate and threatening the government of President Felipe Calderon. CIA and U.S. military planners now fear a worst-case scenario — that the country could implode. The American military is quietly stepping in with more training.
It seems that every night in Mexico there are reports of drug-related violence — murders, kidnappings, armed battles with police, narco-traffickers who outgun even the Mexican army with their rocket-propelled grenades.
“Thousands [have been] murdered this year,” says retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who served as U.S. drug czar under President Clinton. He visited Mexico recently and painted a desperate picture.
“I mean squad-sized units of police officers and soldiers abducted, tortured to death, decapitated. So the violence is simply shocking and we’ve got to help,” he says. The violence led the CIA to add Mexico to its list of crises to watch over the next year, alongside longstanding problems like al-Qaida. And U.S. military planners fear Mexico could become a failed state.
So, what would that mean for the United States?
“You have maybe unplanned or unanticipated migration of people” into the U.S. to flee the violence, says Navy Capt. Sean Buck, a strategic planner with the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command. – npr