Tuesday, March 31, 2009
In an exclusive interview with the BBC’s John Simpson, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has warned that corruption among American officials may be making it harder to deal with drug-trafficking between Mexico and the US.
Speaking in Mexico City before leaving for his state visit to London immediately ahead of next week’s G20 summit, Mr Calderon said violence in the border city of Juarez had fallen by 73% in the month since he sent 7,000 extra troops there.
There has been open warfare in Juarez for more than a year; last year, 5,600 people were killed in drug-related attacks in Mexico, many in Juarez.
The drop in murders there has been a big success for him, especially coming as it does immediately before he meets other world leaders in London.
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But analysts in Mexico City point out that there was also a fall in the violence in Juarez last year when he sent a first detachment of troops in. It quickly rose again.
Juarez has become a battleground because the heads of the Sinaloa drugs cartel decided to move in on the lucrative cross-border routes run by the Juarez cartel. The city lies just across the border from the American city of El Paso, in Texas; the two are less than a mile apart.
President Calderon said it was impossible to smuggle tonnes of cocaine into the United States without the complicity of some American authorities.
“There is trafficking in Mexico because there is corruption in Mexico,” he told the BBC.
“But by the same argument if there is trafficking in the United States it is because there is some corruption in the United States… It is impossible to pass tonnes of cocaine to the United States without the complicity of some American authorities.”