Dispatches, Mexico

Mexico Drug War Fueled By U.S. Assault Weapons And Drug Demand, Calderón Says

September 19, 2011 By Mari Hayman

NEW YORK — Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday.

“We are next to the largest illegal drug market in the world,” Calderón said at the public dinner held in his honor by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA). “We are living in the same building, and our neighbor is the largest consumer of drugs in the world and everyone wants to sell him drugs through our door and our window.”

Calderón cited an increased use of illicit drugs by young people in the United States, the number of gun shops on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the high percentage of assault weapons purchased in the U.S. by members of Mexican drug cartels as major contributing factors in Mexico’s drug war violence.

“The increase in drug violence coincides with the expiration of the assault weapons ban here in 2004,” Calderón said. “The sale of assault weapons to criminals must be stopped.”

Calderón has previously suggested that the United States shares responsibility for the rising drug violence that has killed an estimated 40,000 Mexicans since his term began in 2006. In an annual state of the nation address earlier this month, he mentioned that the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs.

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Meanwhile, Calderón has defended his administration’s controversial decision to mobilize the armed forces to combat drug cartels. “Mexico is in the process of strengthening our security institutions,” Calderón said. “We’re taking on criminal gangs with the full strength of the state.”

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 45 percent of Mexicans believe the government is making progress in its fight against the cartels, while 29 percent say the government is losing ground.

On Monday, Calderón also highlighted the need for continued regional economic integration, praising NAFTA and urging the governments of the U.S., Canada and Mexico to “make North America the most integrated and competitive region of all.”

“The jobs that the American people are looking for are absolutely correlated with integration, not with isolation,” he said.

Calderón is visiting New York for the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this week. On Monday, AS/COA President Susan Segal and Chairman John Negroponte presented Calderón with the Gold Insigne award, the organization’s highest honor awarded to heads of state from the Western Hemisphere.

Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report. 

Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr

11 Comments

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

cubana 1960 says:

Ban weapons, legalize drugs!

Lavinia says:

I believe that the law is the one that has a saying in this kind of situations that involve drug and weapons. The harsher the low, the tougher the punishment. This can easily be solved politically through tough laws.

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

[…] a speech very similar to the one he gave at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Monday, Calderón said that Mexico was doing its part to combat drug trafficking but it needed […]

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

[…] Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more. […]

[…] Our drive from Silver City, New Mexico to Tucson, Arizona was uneventful… if a not-so-gentle reminder of what it is like to be back on the police state that is the border.  Starting in Lordsburg, we passed yet another Border Patrol building – its parking lot filled to the brim with literally millions of dollars worth of equipment.  When you factor the buildings themselves (Our local Naco, AZ station is getting a $40-60 million update right now), you realize that this is nothing but waste personified.  Imagine if we injected those millions and millions of dollars into the Mexican economy?  Imagine we had used that money to build strong trade ties with Mexico and Latin America?  If they had stronger economies, would they be coming here, looking for work? No.  At that point, we could focus on the cross-border traffic that does matter: drugs.  However, while Americans are quick to blame Mexico for the “drug cartel violence”, we are quick to forget that the consumers of the drugs are.. us. […]

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