Mexicans Denounce U.S. Ambassador Over Drug Remark

Mexicans Denounce U.S. Ambassador Over Drug Remark
Posted by FoM on February 26, 2000 at 08:10:33 PT
By Mary Beth Sheridan, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
 The government issued a formal protest Friday after the U.S. ambassador to Mexico described the country as one of the world's main headquarters for drug traffickers--a comment that kicked up a storm of angry criticism by politicians and newspapers.   "The contempt for Mexico is obvious," the Mexico City newspaper Cronica declared in its editorial Friday. 
  The uproar reflected the sensitivity of Mexicans to charges by their powerful neighbor that this country is responsible for the flow of drugs northward.   Such sensitivity is especially intense now, just days before the U.S. government issues its annual certification of nations cooperating in the anti-drug fight.   In the past, U.S. legislators have challenged the Clinton administration's contention that Mexico deserved a passing grade.   The latest tempest over drug trafficking began Thursday when U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, fielding questions at a meeting with Mexico City alumni of USC, said: "The fact is that the headquarters of the drug-trafficking world are now in Mexico. Just as the headquarters, the main base, of the Mafia was in Sicily, now the main bases of drug traffickers are in other countries, and Mexico is one of them."   Davidow's analysis differed little from what officials of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have said for years. They say the majority of Colombian-made cocaine reaching U.S. cities arrives via Mexico, as do important shipments of marijuana and heroin. A handful of criminal gangs in Mexico is believed to control the movements of drugs.   But the comments prompted an outcry in Mexico, where politicians, commentators and the public have traditionally blamed the narcotics problem on drug users in the United States.   Many are so suspicious of the U.S. government that they believe the drug issue is used to weaken Mexico.   "These are totally offensive comments," said Jorge Calderon, a member of the Mexican Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. Americans, he added, "are trying to blame Mexico for a problem that they have the biggest responsibility for."   In an unusual move, acting Foreign Minister Carmen Moreno summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires, James Derham, to express "surprise" at the ambassador's remarks.   "This type of comment undermines mutual confidence and therefore tends to benefit our common enemy, which is international organized-crime drug groups," Moreno said, according to a communique.   There was no comment from Davidow, who was attending a meeting in Houston, or the U.S. Embassy.   Mexico is widely expected to be certified by the Clinton administration this year. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, recently praised Mexico's cooperation in the anti-narcotics fight.   Nonetheless, some U.S. legislators and anti-drug officials complain about widespread corruption and inefficiency in Mexico's police forces. Two influential U.S. congressmen, Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed such charges this week.   In a letter to Albright, they said drug cartels "do business with virtual impunity in Mexico."   A country that is not certified can be subject to U.S. economic penalties. MEXICO CITYPublished: Saturday, February 26, 2000 Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times Related Articles:Helms, Gilman Chide Mexico on Drugs McCaffrey Concludes Visit to Mexico
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 26, 2000 at 09:38:52 PT
A Co-dependant relationship if ever one
Every year the US and Mexico goes through what could be described as a political Punch & Judy show: the US says that Mexico isn't working hard enough to eradicate drug supply operations. Then Mexico stutters angrily, pointing the finger at el Norte and says that we aren't doing much to combat demand. A flurry of verbal brickbats ensue, with the exchanges becoming more vitiolic. Then finally, the two partners in this farce kiss and make up. Mexico gets the certification it plainly doesn't 'deserve' and the US must continue to turn a blind eye to the flagrant trafficking, lest it 'stir the pot' even more. Until next year, when it starts all over again. Kind of reminds you of a dysfunctional marriage, where the husband and wife bicker constantly, hating each others guts, but are too afraid to split up. Truly a co-dependant relationship.And it makes not one wit of difference. The hard stuff pours through courtesy of NAFTA, the demand shows no sign of slacking, and our liberties are still shrinking. Rank insanity.
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