Drugs Again Top U.S.-Mexican Summit Agenda!

Drugs Again Top U.S.-Mexican Summit Agenda!
Posted by FoM on February 13, 1999 at 13:07:12 PT

Mexico's war against drug traffickers, highlighted by a new $400 million, land-sea-and-air battle plan, tops the agenda for Clinton's meetings with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. 
White House officials admit that Mexico still has a "tremendous problem" with drug trafficking but are praising its eradication efforts in advance of President Clinton's two-day trip there that begins Sunday. The setting will be the Yucatan Peninsula, a tourist haven where the two presidents and their wives will have a Valentine's evening dinner before Clinton and Zedillo get down to business on Monday. They have met seven times previously. In addition to drugs, their agenda includes trade, migration and the environment. Their meetings will take place against a background of a congressionally mandated review of Mexico's cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts in the past year. Mexico could face stiff economic sanctions if it receives a failing grade, but all signs point to a U.S. decision to "certify" Mexico as fully cooperative -- as it has been all 12 years the process has been in effect. Taking nothing for granted about Clinton's decision, however, Mexico declared "total war" against the drug chieftains Feb. 4 through a program that specifies early detection of drug flights and sea shipments and a stepped-up counternarcotics role for the Mexican army. The three-year plan contemplates purchases of aircraft, ships, radar, X-ray equipment and other items. Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said Friday that drug control is an important part of the U.S. agenda. In the two years since Clinton and Zedillo established a set of common objectives, he said, "We have seen Mexico extradite fugitives, eradicate thousands of acres of opium, criminalize money-laundering and institute a new screening process for law-enforcement officials." "Still, obviously this is a tremendous problem for Mexico, but one that they are tackling," he said. Last year, with the certification decision just weeks away, the two countries announced a plan outlining joint projects against drug consumption, money laundering, gunrunning and narcotics smuggling. The review process targets about 30 countries deemed to be sources for drugs or through which drugs transit. Only a handful were decertified a year ago. While seemingly assured a clean bill of health from Clinton, there were no such assurances that Mexico's expected certification won't be overturned by Congress, where skepticism runs deep about the Zedillo government's performance. Quoting from an internal White House memo, The Washington Post reported last week that congressional opponents of certification want more than good-faith efforts -- "They want results, including extraditions of Mexican nationals, more prosecutions of corrupt officials and more than paper agreements about cooperative law-enforcement arrangements." With a two-thirds vote, the Congress could overturn a Clinton certification, which officials fear could trigger a nationalist backlash in Mexico. The certification process is widely disliked in Mexico. "It does more harm than good," says Rafael Fernandez de Castro, a Mexican academic on leave this year at the Brookings Institution. He said the process fuels nationalistic feelings that impair cross border relations. Robert Leiken, an expert on Mexico at Brookings, says Mexicans are baffled by the process because they believe the drug problem exists only because of the demand for narcotics in the United States. Leiken questions whether it is realistic to assume that Mexico will be able to deal with narcotics traffickers, given its inability to cope with a steadily worsening problem of street crime. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin acknowledged this past week that the drug problem may be more than Mexico can handle because of the vast resources of the drug runners. But he noted the certification process does not take into account results. "There is a difference between cooperation and success," he said. Clinton's trip to Mexico and other Central American countries, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed after the Senate set a goal of finishing the president's impeachment trial by Friday, when he still would have been out of the country. The Senate acquitted Clinton on Friday. The Mexico leg was rescheduled for Sunday and Monday. He will visit Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in March. Mexico is a major transit point for U.S.-bound cocaine shipments from South America. It is also a major producer of marijuana and a significant producer of heroin. A delegation of Mexican officials visiting Washington admitted Wednesday that seizures of illicit narcotics have been down over the past year. They raised the possibility that Colombian narcotraffickers may be relying more on routes other than Mexico for their drug shipments because of increased law enforcement in Mexico. 
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Comment #2 posted by Eliza Rhoads on May 09, 2001 at 08:10:52 PT:
in reply to refer head
you are an idiot. can't you see what the flow of drugs has done to our country. look what has done to bone-heads like yourself. people like you give this country a bad image for the world to see.
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Comment #1 posted by reefer head on October 26, 2000 at 14:46:42 PT:
smokin pot
pot is the shit, keep bringing it in
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