US anti-drug cooperation will continue with whoever wins elections in Mexico
The U.S. government said he did not foresee changes in military strategy against organized crime adopted by Felipe Calderon
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22. – The U.S. government said today that cooperation with Mexico will remain unchanged in the war on drugs, whoever wins the presidential elections in July in that country, while drug violence has been the focus of several congressional leaders.
The fight against drugs in Mexico, since December 2006, has claimed the lives of some 50,000 people in that country, and is a key part of bilateral relations, but has also been a source of friction between the two countries.
However, neither human rights organizations, nor the Washington government and analysts expect changes in military strategy adopted by President Felipe Calderon.
“Since late 1990, Mexico has undergone a major political developments after seventy years of being ruled by a single party. It is a profound change and that we have welcomed,” said William Ostick, a spokesman for the Department of State.
“The interests and American values are the same as in Mexico: a free and fair election decided by the Mexican people. Look forward to working closely with the Mexican government, led by the political party chosen by the Mexicans,” he said Ostick.
For lack of better options on the table, none of the presidential candidates in Mexico has explained what changes would you make in the current strategy, nor have they indicated whether long-term would, for example, more room for maneuver for the agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Mexican soil.
The candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Enrique Peña Nieto, who leads polls ahead of elections next July 1, leans in favor of a gradual withdrawal of the military displaced in 14 of the 31 states, but has not offered a timetable for achieving it.
“Whoever is elected in Mexico will largely continue the current strategy, but the next president may seek a greater focus on strengthening institutions and prosecuting the most violent groups,” said Andrew Selee Efe, director of Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center.
“The general policy will not change, but may change the way it is applied there,” said the expert.
During a hearing last week, Arizona Sen. John McCain, questioned the commitment of “at least one candidate” to continue the fight against drug traffickers, but declined to say whether he was referring to Peña Nieto.
Through the Merida Initiative, a regional security initiative, 400 million, U.S. aid to Mexico to fight the drug cartels to prevent a “contagion” of drug violence in its territory.
Last Thursday, during a ceremony in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso (Texas), Calderón again requested U.S. assistance to curb the flow of arms to his country, which nourishes “the terrible violence” afflicting the country.
“No more weapons to Mexico (No more weapons to Mexico),” Calderon cried in English, after a ceremony where he witnessed the destruction of nearly seven thousand weapons, including assault rifles and grenades, seized organized crime.
The Spanish group President of Congress, Charlie A. Gonzalez said today that in the next two weeks will review with representatives of the various proposals Mexican presidential candidates in the drug war in Mexico.
“They asked us to submit proposals and recommendations. I do not know how different can be a focus (of the war on drugs) than it has been doing the government of Felipe Calderon … whoever is in front of the next government will have to get the full support of the Mexican people, their commitment, their participation, “he said.
In these ideas Mexicans “are those who risk their personal safety. The task is not easy. The United States must be a partner, an ally and we have to find how we can help the Mexican people to engage in their own future, “stressed the Texas legislature.
Without giving details, Gonzalez said the meetings will be held in Texas.
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