Mexico, U.S. anti-drugs co-op will not improve unless U.S. adopts arms ban

15:55, March 10, 2011      

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by Maja Wallengren

As Mexican President Felipe Calderon and U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands after meeting in Washington last week, both leaders declared that after months of growing tension, bilateral relations and anti-drugs cooperation were back on track.

This is unlikely to be the case as Mexican politicians are becoming increasingly disappointed with the Obama administration's failure to walk its talk.

Consensus is growing in Mexico that the only way to cooperate with the United States on the anti-drugs issue and the violence related to drug wars is to have the United States reinstate a ban on arms trade and adopt more effective policies to combat the smuggling of illegal arms into Mexico.

As Mexico is starting to prepare for its 2012 presidential elections, Calderon's political opponents are putting more pressure on him, and there is an increasing focus in local political debate and media to call on the U.S. Congress to impose an arms ban.

"Calderon's suitcase returned to Mexico with more frustrations than significant agreements," Mexican Senator Maria del Rosario Green said, expressing the pessimism prevailing in Mexico regarding the U.S. promise of increasing support and cooperation in the war against drugs.

Rosario Green, formerly one of Mexico's top female diplomats, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is the longest ruling party in Mexico from 1929 to 2000. Political analysts predicted that the PRI has great potential to bounce back at the next presidential elections.

"The United States said it recognizes its responsibility, but the leading drug consumer and illegal arms exporter did not offer anything more than an expired and unfulfilled Merida initiative," said Rosario Green, who was Mexican foreign minister from 1998 to 2000. Her words were published in the El Universal newspaper on Wednesday.

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