Scheduled to go on a two-day trip to Mexico, President Barack Obama will not being taking any real leisure time while in the neighboring country but will be discussing the recent issue arising between the two nations. What is the issue? Mexican President Peña Nieto announcement in ending the level of access US agents have in crossing the border.
During the former administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderón the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and US Border Patrol was allowed to cross their army, police, and intelligence units into Mexico. Under this relationship, notable senior figures in the drug cartels were either captured or killed. In addition, the US is reported to have provided $2 billion in fighting the drug wars while Calderón was President.
But now, President Nieto plans will eliminate that access due to the country’s bid to demonstrate independence from the United States. Choosing to sever this arrangement,
President Nieto’s administration new approach to the drug cartels will be by spending resources into the country’s economic improvement hoping this would isolate the cartels which will then make it easier to eliminate. The new administration suggests the changes is internal by changing the structure of the police and intelligence and has nothing to do with the United states.
Today, Reporters were briefed on Obama’s trip to Central America and Mexico today but The White House didn’t address the recent actions made by Nieto’s administration. The White House did comment on the US being open to discussions about the Mexican President’s plans.
Early this week US federal agents were told that their future endeavors in combatting the drug cartels must be planned out with Mexican Interior Ministry instead of dealing directly with the Mexican police and intelligence agencies like it’s been done in the past.
Both Ben Rhodes, the White House’s Deputy National Security Adviser, and Ricardo Zuniga, special assistant to the president and the senior director for the western hemisphere, commented on the border issue by stating that the drug war should be dealt with by Mexico.
The two added they understood why Nieto would want to readjust the country’s security arrangements since it is the start of his administration manning the government.
“Part of the reason we are going to have President Obama sit down with President Nieto early in his term is so we can have a collaborative approach to this,” Rhodes said.
On Tuesday at a White House press conference, Obama commented on the new security changes stating that he is “not going to yet judge how this will alter the relationship between the United States and Mexico until I’ve heard directly from them what exactly they are trying to accomplish.”
“But in fact the co-operation has been quite good between our governments [and] is continuing,” Zinga said, commenting on the potential co-operation established under Calderón falling apart. “We view it as entirely in the realm of the Mexican government to determine how it defines that structure and how it defines its co-operation with foreign partners. The Mexican government made it very clear as well they intend to continue a good and constructive collaboration with the United States.”
Since the Drug War began under the Bush and Calderón hundreds of lives have been lost. And while the endeavor to end the cartels are noble, citizens of both Mexico and the United States would have to wait and see what becomes of the new undertakings.