The US remains firm in supporting Mexico in the war on
drugs, a senior official has said, despite mounting warnings
that the countries joint efforts are failing.
The surge in violence this month just makes us more
determined to work with Mexican authorities to rein in
the scourge of drugs violence that has claimed nearly 20,000
lives in three years, Craig Kelly, a top US State Department
envoy for Latin America, told Emerging Markets in an
The violence ratcheted up yet again last week after gunmen
hunted down and killed two Americans and a Mexican linked to
the US border consulate in lawless Ciudad Juarez.
Kelly said that a change in strategy under which the
US has helped Mexico on counter-narcotics training, equipment
and intelligence is unnecessary.
Violence is increasing because Mexico has ramped up efforts
to deal with drug gangs, he said. But we can take heart
by looking at other countries like Colombia, to realize that if
you keep at it and youre firm, you can have success.
Were in this for the long haul.
Kellys comments come ahead of a meeting next week
between senior US and Mexican officials to assess a $1.3
billion aid package designed to help Mexico fight drug
The message from Mexico City and Washington is that, far
from proving that policies are failing, the heightened violence
of recent weeks shows that the cartels are becoming ever more
desperate as a result of the crackdown.
But that mantra is wearing thin, especially with innocent
victims now increasingly being caught up in the violence, and
analysts say it is time for a radical rethink.
Eric Olson, a senior security adviser at the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars in Washington, said:
Its clear that simply deploying the military is not
enough. There needs to be a new, more nuanced strategy that
focuses on institutional things like the police and judicial
system, investing on social development in critical areas like
Ciudad Juarez and better deploying their law enforcement
Kelly says the joint anti-drug strategy is already
broad-based, but that Washington is always willing to consider
a new tack. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to
Mexico this week with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland
Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Director of National
Intelligence Dennis Blair, to discuss the next step.
Mexico insists that the drug violence is far from widespread
and limited to a few hotspots, but the government is not taking
any chance here in Cancun. Heavy artillery mounted on army
Humvees surround the conference center where the IDB
meeting is being held.
IDB President Luis Moreno, whose legacy at the bank
and re-election in July is riding on capitalization,
said the bank would be in serious trouble without agreement on
a capital injection. It would put us in a very difficult
situation. We could only continue to approve projects until the
middle of this year.