Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 25, 2009

Mexico moves to the front-burner

Filed under: Border Security,International HLS — by Philip J. Palin on March 25, 2009

Since at least December 2006 the Mexican government has been engaged in an intense struggle with criminal cartels that control shipping and distribution of drugs to US customers.  It is a furious and deadly fight.  This week Washington D.C. took serious notice.

This is not the first notice.  In September 2007 Colleen Cook at the Congressional Research Service prepared a very helpful primer on the, then, five major cartels.  A few years ago the New York Times started an online archive dedicated to Mexican drug trafficking.  The stories go back to 1990.  There are plenty of other examples of sober testimony, earnest effort, and even strategic engagement.

But this week Mexican border violence became a “numero uno” issue in a city accustomed to spinning many plates on long poles. 

Yesterday DHS and Justice announced a  range of new border security initiatives.   Punctuating the priority, senior officials from State, Justice, and DHS appeared together in the White House briefing room to meet with reporters. At 9:30 this morning the same trio will testify on the topic.  Today Secretary of State Clinton begins a two-day visit to Mexico.  Both Napolitano and Attorney-General Holder will be making trips to Mexico in the next two weeks.  The President will be in the Mexican capital on April 16-17.

Confirming the issue’s new front-burner status, yesterday morning the White House made explicit how it is going to be very much involved, “Because this effort has so many facets, the U.S.-Mexico relationship and our efforts to help address the increase in violence in Mexico are being coordinated at the White House through the NSC and HSC.” (See the complete White House statement.)

UPDATE: In its afternoon lead story the New York Times is reporting on Secretary Clinton’s remarks on arriving in Mexico City: Clinton Admits US Demand Feeds Mexico’s Drug Trade

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5 Comments »

Comment by chitown lady

March 25, 2009 @ 8:30 am

These drug dealers are way outa hand. Mexico is POWERLESS to stop them perhaps they really don’t want to……..Mexico has for years wanted everyone else to do their dirty work…….We have supported them by sending them our money….our companies have shut their doors here to move to Mexico…and they do NOTHING to stop their illegals to come here…THATS THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT…DO NOTHINGS…..So…put up our 20foot wall with bob wire on the top…Stop charging our border patrol; with murder for taking out DRUG DEALERS…LET THEM DO THEIR JOB!!!!! They are illegally trying to enter this country……Mexico guards their borders on the other end with orders of “SHOOT TO KILL”…They do NOT allow illegals to enter their country…Why should they be allowed to enter HERE!

Comment by Fred Evil

March 25, 2009 @ 8:39 am

You REALLY want to take out the cartels?

Then do away with their business altogether, legalize drugs, and stop putting Americans in jail. END the failed second try at Prohibition, this one isn’t working either.

WE MADE the mafia during alcohol Prohibition, now WE are MAKING the Mexican cartels with today’s failed ‘War on Drugs.’ We must open our eyes, ad recognize the futility. FORTY YEARS have passed since Nixon originated the ‘War’ we CAN NOT WIN.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 25, 2009 @ 9:01 am

Treatment vis a vis enforcement originated by Nixon Administration largely to deal with large numbers of returning Viet Nam vets that were addicts.

But the problems in Mexico are well beyond the cartels. Wall Street helped privatize much of Mexican economy and their social security. That has collapsed.

No what is really needed is a total rethink or this WILL BE IF NOT ALREADY the biggest homeland security and national security issue for US.

Mexico is 2nd biggest trade partner of US (may be wrong) and this does NOT include illegal off the statistics illegal substance trade.

We need a permanent Assistant Secretary of State for Mexico not just an area desk.

Comment by Jorge Lopez

March 25, 2009 @ 9:50 am

If gun control groups were correct in their assertion that strict gun control laws would lower or eliminate gun violence, Mexico would be the safest place to live and visit! Why has no one reported on the harsh anti-gun laws that Mexico has had for years! I have known of American citizens put in prison for mistakenly forgetting to check their pick up trucks for ammo when visiting Mexico let alone firearms. People who live along the border visit Mexico very often for shopping and even for lunch or dinner and since most of the border is along prime hunting areas of the U.S. this happens more often than not during hunting seasons. Criminals will not bother to follow gun control laws while disobeying others. That is why they are criminals.

The real root of this problem is the illicit drug use in our country so either stop it or legalize it an make it the individuals responsible for their own lives and health. What a novel idea, personal freedom and responsibility. Lets stop becoming the nanny state that tells us what to eat, wear, drive, believe in, life style to follow, etc.

Comment by Jorge Lopez

March 26, 2009 @ 4:04 am

If gun control groups were correct in their assertion that strict gun control laws would lower or eliminate gun violence, Mexico would be the safest place to live and visit! Why has no one reported on the harsh anti-gun laws that Mexico has had for years! I have known of American citizens put in prison for mistakenly forgetting to check their pick up trucks for ammo when visiting Mexico let alone firearms. People who live along the border visit Mexico very often for shopping and even for lunch or dinner and since most of the border is along prime hunting areas of the U.S. this happens more often than not during hunting seasons. Criminals will not bother to follow gun control laws while disobeying others. That is why they are criminals.

The real root of this problem is the illicit drug use in our country so either stop it or legalize it an make it the individuals responsible for their own lives and health. What a novel idea, personal freedom and responsibility. Lets stop becoming the nanny state that tells us what to eat, wear, drive, believe in, life style to follow, etc.
P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

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