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Mexican President Calderon Says U.S. Consumer is Fueling Narco Trafficking

President Felipe Calderon

President Felipe Calderon

The French newspaper Le Monde sat down this week with the Mexican president for a Q and A. The president blamed President Bush for easing gun restrictions and said the American consumer was helping his country’s drug trade. It’s hard to argue over those points.

By Jean Pierre-Langellier and Joelle Stolz
Le Monde

Le Monde: Concerning the battle against drug trafficking, you said:

“It’s them or us!” One minister mentioned the possibility that the next Mexican president could be a “Narco.” Has the government lost control over a part of the country?

Mexican President Felipe Calderon: Of course not. Our efforts are specifically targeted to preserve the government’s authority, that is, its monopoly on the use of force, and also the authority of the law in the face of a phenomenon, which, it is true, had begun to spread to different regions. But there is not a single spot of national territory that eludes the government’s complete control. And we’ve preserved that control because we’ve acted in time and with great resolve.

Organized crime exerts pressure on the political authorities by cooptation, corruption and intimidation. There was a certain influence at the local and municipal level. Intervening now has allowed us to avoid having criminal action affect a higher echelon.

Who’s Responsible?

Rather than pointing out who’s to blame, it’s better to assume one’s responsibilities. Let’s talk about the causes. The first is the American consumer. If the United States were not the biggest drug market in the world, we wouldn’t have this problem.

And there’s also the arms trade. In two years, we’ve seized 33,000 weapons, 18,000 of them high caliber, rocket launchers, thousands of grenades, devices able to pierce armor plating. Now the overwhelming majority of this materiel had been purchased in the United States, including materiel which is the exclusive property of the American Army. In 2004, (the Bush administration) lifted the prohibition that had previously been in place against the sale of these very dangerous weapons.

There is another factor: the cartels’ modus operandi has changed. Before, they only transported drugs to the United States. Today, and this is a substantial change, they are trying to develop a domestic market and so need to control the territory and the life of entire communities.

For Full Interview


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