Drug and cartel-related violence continues to roil certain parts of Mexico, especially the border region. As the problem grows, the United States is stepping up efforts to help its friend and neighbor combat it.
President Barack Obama is sending more than 450 U.S. law enforcement agents and additional equipment to the U.S.-Mexico border to help fight violent drug cartels that have killed thousands of people in recent years.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Mexico City and Monterrey to discuss that and other bilateral issues. Secretary Clinton communicated that the U.S. is also responsible for the cartel-related violence plaguing Mexico and the U.S. will work hard to combat the flow of arms and money from the U.S. into Mexico, as well as curb demand for drugs among the U.S. population.
Mexico's struggle is a shared challenge with the U.S. and its Latin American neighbors. President Felipe Calderon has courageously confronted the drug cartels and worked to stop illegal trafficking in both drugs and firearms since his election in 2006.
The U.S. recognizes its role in this effort, since it is a large market for illegal drugs and 90 percent of the firearms seized in drug-related violence come from the U.S. Under the 2007 Merida Initiative, $700 million has already been appropriated by the U.S. Congress to work in collaboration with Mexico on law enforcement and rule of law capacity building.
Under the effort announced by President Obama, more Customs personnel and mobile X-ray scanners will be sent to border checkpoints to beef up the inspection of goods and vehicles entering the U.S. More money will be given to local law enforcement who police border communities and high-traffic drug corridors. Better monitoring of the nation's financial system will help stop the transfer and laundering of billions of dollars in drug profits, thus cutting the financial lifelines supporting the drug cartels.
The U.S. is committed to working with our Mexican partners to support their campaign against the violent cartels and reduce the contraband in both directions across the border.