Obama Pledges Expanded Information Sharing In Mexican Drug War

President Obama met with Mexico's President Calderon today. Here's the transcript of the press conference. First, Obama promises continued and increased cooperation in fighting Mexico's drug war.

So we are continuing to speed up the delivery of equipment and training that our Mexican partners need to keep up this fight. As President Calderón cracks down on money laundering in Mexico, we’re putting unprecedented pressure on cartels and their finances here in the United States. And we thank our Mexican partners for their close cooperation following the murder of one of our immigration and customs agents, Special Agent Jaime Zapata.

I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment.

President Calderon praised the increased information sharing between law enforcement in the two countries and said it will continue. [More...]

And fifth, in the chapter of security, both governments have taken on our positions as co-responsible parties in the fight against transnational organized crime. This is a paradigm change in our relationship. And today we have reached increased levels of exchange of information that are unheard of in the past. I would like to thank President Obama for the clarity with which he speaks of the effects that the consumption of drugs has on his country, as well as the illegal traffic of weapons and of monies into Mexican territory. I know that together we can achieve ever greater results.

Last year was the year where we had the greatest number of achievements in the capture of the number of criminals -- unprecedented number of criminals were caught, and this is the result of the increase of the institutional capacity of our agencies as well as international cooperation in terms of information and intelligence.

I'm going to repeat this part: What do you think Calderon is implying when he said:

I would like to thank President Obama for the clarity with which he speaks of the effects that the consumption of drugs has on his country, as well as the illegal traffic of weapons and of monies into Mexican territory.

Is he saying Mexico's drug, weapons and money laundering problems are our fault -- that they are caused by American drug users and gun smugglers?

Back to the information sharing. That could turn out to be a huge mistake, given the high level of corruption in Mexico's police forces. It's not like the DEA can go into Mexico on their own and bust people. Or even conduct joint raids. As Calderon said today:

The law does not allow agents of the United States or of any other country to take part in tasks involving justice enforcement in our territory. As a result, they cannot carry weapons or undertake operational tasks. Their functions, in line with our treaties, are limited to the exchange of information, and technical assistance to support Mexican authorities in these tasks.

Obama agreed with him:

When it comes to our partnership, our cooperation in battling the drug cartels, our job is to help with information, it’s to help with equipment, it’s to help in coordination. We are in an advisory capacity; we do not carry out law enforcement activities inside of Mexico.

Giving our law enforcement information to Mexican law enforcement is pretty risky. It could end up in the hands of crooked Mexican cops who are on the payroll of the cartels, who might use it to warn suspects who are under investigation or about to be extradited, causing them to flee. Or tell them who the snitches are, prompting more murders; Or share tactical information about upcoming planned operations.

If the U.S. trusted Mexico to punish its own offenders, why would we need to extradite those accused of killing ICE agent Jaime Zapata? Mexico would not agree to extradition if we sought the death penalty, so technically, they could get the same sentence in either place. Calderon clearly believes the suspects didn't intend to kill a law enforcement officer. He said:

The criminals themselves, they tell us that they didn't know that they were attacking U.S. agents in their attack, so it’s not that that’s what they wanted to do.

The press conference ended with a bit of a disagreement on the extradition issue:


Now, with respect to the extradition of this criminal, it’s something that we hadn’t really discussed. I don't know if President Obama wanted to discuss this. We still have not finished our meetings yet. Although we have to review what the law stipulates in terms of the extradition for each case of it, I'm, in truth, very convinced that these cases have to be brought to trial. There is the political will, full political will, that this individual be brought to justice with the full weight of the law, whether that be in the United States or in Mexico, if the law allows it. In terms of a request for extradition, I'd have to reserve my opinion in this sense because it will depend on what the law stipulates in this sense. Of course there is a political will to cooperate in this matter as well as on many others.


I didn’t comment on the extradition issue. Let me just emphasize [***that] we have made a request for extradition [***intend to seek the extradition of those involved]. I think beyond that it’s probably not appropriate to comment. Okay? But we expect the full weight of the law to be brought against this perpetrator.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Oh great! (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by dead dancer on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 10:05:29 PM EST
    Can't we elect a progressive democrat to office rather than a fake republican?

    That would be a faux-king Republican (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:13:11 PM EST
    Sounds like...

    Yes (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 09:55:28 AM EST
    We can't.

    More great news. (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 04:55:10 AM EST
    I think the next progressive step that could be taken by Obama and Calderon would be to ban the manufacture and consumption of beer.

    Neither Demo or Repub (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 08:31:20 AM EST
    seem able to grasp the fact that if we legalized certain of the drugs we could have a much better control over the situation.

    But common sense is way too much to ask.

    Jimbo Droppin' Science... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 10:12:14 AM EST
    Well said sir.

    Common sense is also not conducive to robbin' taxpayers to violently chase the tyranny dragon.

    Calderon escalated the fight against the cartels, and who could have guessed his cartel partners in crime responded with a violent escalation of their own?  

    All the blood is on the hands of police and thieves alike, on both sides of the Rio Grande.  A pox on the lot of 'em, and may they one day let us live in peace and drop this violent profiteering charade.


    Too much money at stake (none / 0) (#10)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 10:20:45 AM EST
    for the cops, DEA, prosecutors, jail guards, etc. to lose if we quit locking up people in order to protect society from the 'scourge' of some drugs.

    WAR IS not OVER! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Yes2Truth on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 08:41:01 AM EST

    The many benefits of continuing what must be the
    longest war in history obviously outweigh the
    horrendous loss of lives and high costs -- at least
    in the brilliant minds of the two presidents.

    "You can tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much, can you O?"

    Right... I'm Sure the DEA is Ready to Share.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 09:11:49 AM EST
    Pleazzzze, our agencies don't even share within the US, and Obama thinks they are going to share with Mexican authorities, weeks after one of their own was killed.

    I don't know much about the DEA, but I do know they ain't sharing a GD thing with Mexican authorities just because Obama says it at a press conference.  

    This is all just more BS (none / 0) (#8)
    by SeeEmDee on Fri Mar 04, 2011 at 10:02:20 AM EST
    Obama and Calderon, kabuki peronified:

    Sócrates Rizzo: PRI Presidents oversaw drug trafficking

    Cartels in bed with the highest levels of Mex government. I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you! (/snark)

    And we're going to throw more money at this? When we need it at home, and it's not going to do one single damn bit of good, as proven by all the previously wasted money on drug prohibition?