HomeNewsBriefObama, Calderon Offer Rival Drug War Narratives at Summit
BRIEF

Obama, Calderon Offer Rival Drug War Narratives at Summit

MEXICO / 4 APR 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

At a meeting of North American leaders, the presidents of the US and Mexico offered differing views of drug-related violence in Mexico, with Calderon criticizing the US's failure to stop gun trafficking.

On April 2, the White House hosted the so-called “Three Amigos” summit between US President Barack Obama, Mexico’s Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While the meeting ended in standard promises of closer cooperation on law enforcement and border security, comments from the US and Mexican leaders hinted at tension between the two countries.

The Associated Press reports that Obama and Calderon “traded barbs” in public remarks after the meeting, starting with Obama’s claim that the violence in Mexico is affecting the country's institutions, and could hurt relations with the US. "It can have a deteriorating effect overall on the nature of our relationship," Obama said. "And that's something that we have to pay attention to." The US president also expressed concern about the potential for a "spillover effect," with violence spreading across the border.

Calderon responded by downplaying drug violence, noting that it has not had a substantial effect on tourism. He pointed to the massive demand for drugs in the US as one of the main drivers of the problem.

The Mexico president also issued a thinly-veiled critique of US efforts to stop the flow of guns across the border, believed to be the main source of arms for Mexican cartels. While he acknowledged Obama's work to crack down on cross-border arms trafficking, he said it was insufficient, noting that the US president faces “internal problems ... from a political point of view." He also hinted that lax gun controls could be part of a deliberate attempt to profit from the market for guns in Mexico.

InSight Crime Analysis

Calderon has been highly vocal in his attempts to curb arms trafficking into Mexico. In February, he unveiled a massive billboard on the border which calls on US officials to stop the flow of guns south. The sign, which weighs 3 tons, reads “No More Weapons!” in English, in letters composed entirely of US guns seized in Mexico in recent years.

By “internal problems,” Calderon was likely referring to the political fallout from the Justice Department’s controversial “Operation Fast and Furious,” in which thousands of US guns were allowed to cross the border. Ever since word of the terminated operation leaked, gun rights activists in the US have used it to oppose the president’s efforts to crack down on illicit gun sales. With Obama’s re-election campaign already underway, it is unlikely that he will implement major gun regulations in the near future.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 17 NOV 2022

Hidalgo, Mexico faces a rise in violence connected to a parallel increase in oil theft.

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 NOV 2022

The trial of Genaro García Luna, Mexico's public security minister during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, is fast approaching.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 24 AUG 2022

A new rule in the United States seeks to stem the flow of ghost guns, bought in parts online and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…