Mexico is paying a terrible price for its efforts against the drug cartels. Mexico’s top policeman, Edgar Eusebio Millan Gomez, was gunned down outside his house this month. Mr. Gomez was a leader in Mexico’s campaign against the drug lords. His assassination is one of more than six thousand murders committed by narcotics gangs over the last three years.
The day before Mr. Gomez was murdered, U.S. President George Bush spoke to the Council of the Americas, where he said that the illicit drug trade is one of the greatest challenges faced by the Western hemisphere. Driving the drug trade, Mr. Bush said, is the demand for illegal drugs in the U.S.:
"So long as the United States uses illegal drugs, the drug dealers will find a way to get their products here."
President Bush says "the United States will continue ... to do our part to reduce demand for illegal drugs." The U.S. will continue to disrupt the trade in illicit drugs by intercepting and seizing smuggled narcotics. Mr. Bush says there is one more crucial part of the anti-drug strategy:
"We will work with our partners, Mexico and the countries of Central America, to take on the international drug trade. I am deeply concerned about how lethal and how brutal these drug lords are. I have watched with admiration how President Calderón has taken a firm hand in making sure his society is free of these drug lords.
Those drug gangs pose a clear and deadly threat to the people and the government of Mexico. And even if Mexico does succeed in its efforts to break the cartels, President Bush said there is a risk the drug kingpins will simply move their criminal enterprises south, establishing new havens in Central America:
"That is why I committed my administration to the Merida Initiative. It's a partnership, a cooperative partnership with Mexico and Central America that will help them deal with the scourge of these unbelievably wealthy and unbelievably violent drug kingpins."