A Mexican soldier marches in a parade.
Latin America: Week in Review, Mexico

Obama Says Mexico’s Drug War Is Not Like Colombia

September 10, 2010 By Staff

A Mexican soldier marches in a parade.

Today in Latin America

Top StoryPresident Barack Obama said that Mexico’s problem with drug cartels is not comparable to Colombia at the height of its own drug war.

“Mexico is vast and progressive democracy, with a growing economy, and as a result you cannot compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia 20 years ago,” Obama told Los Angeles-based Spanish language newspaper La Opinion, according to the New York Times.

Obama’s comment were meant to rebuke Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments at a Council on Foreign Relations event Wednesday, where she said that Mexico’s drug war was beginning to look like Colombia in the 1980s.

“[W]e face an increasing threat from a well-organized network, drug-trafficking threat that is, in some cases, morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency, in Mexico and in Central America,” Clinton said, according to the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago.”

Mexican officials publicly disputed Clinton’s comments on Thursday.

However, critics of Felipe Calderón’s assault on the drug cartels say that the Mexican government has been too slow to respond to advice.

“They are headed there,” said Colombian Gen. Oscar Naranjo of the comparison between Mexico and Colombia, according to the New York Times.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hazleton, Pa., cannot enforce its crackdown on undocumented immigrants, dealing another blow to 4-year-old regulations that inspired similar measures around the country.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared the Mexico drug war to an “insurgency” comparable to the situation in Colombia in the 1980s. This sparked tensions with Mexican officials, who reject the comparison.
  • Mexico arrested seven gunmen allegedly involved in the recent execution-style killings of 72 U.S.-bound undocumented migrants in the northern border state of Tamaulipas, officials said Wednesday. The gunmen are believed to belong to the Zetas drug cartel, said Alejandro Poiré, the Mexican government’s national-security spokesman.
  • Weeks of heavy rain have brought widespread flooding to large areas of eastern and southern Mexico.
  • Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck was heckled Wednesday night as he addressed an angry crowd that had gathered at a Westlake school for a community meeting in the aftermath of a deadly police shooting.


Central America


Southern Cone

Image: eeliuth @ Flickr.

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