Thursday, September 9, 2010

Clinton says Mexico drug crime like an insurgency

The Mexican army has spearheaded the fight against drug cartels

Drug-related violence in Mexico increasingly has the hallmarks of an insurgency, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said."It's looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, when the narco-traffickers controlled certain parts of the country," she said. Her comments were made following a major speech to US foreign policy experts in Washington. A Mexican government spokesman rejected Mrs Clinton's analogy. Speaking in Mexico City, Alejandro Poire said the only aspect that the Mexican and Colombian conflicts share is their root cause - a high demand for drugs in the US. Mr Poire also denied that the presence of drug cartels was tantamount to an insurgency, insisting that "all the efforts of the Mexican state were going into fighting criminals". He added that "the collaboration with the US is an integral part of our strategy" in tackling drug cartels. Mr Poire was responding to remarks Mrs Clinton made after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank. Drug cartels, she said, "are showing more and more indices of insurgencies".

America's top diplomat said Mexico needed to maintain its political will to fight the cartels. More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army to fight the cartels in 2006. The US has supported Mr Calderon's strategy, mainly through financial aid and military co-operation. The Obama administration has also acknowledged some responsibility in the conflict, in part because of the flow of guns from the US to Mexican cartels. But the BBC's Julian Miglierini in Mexico says Mrs Clinton's comments signal that concern in Washington about the situation in Mexico is even greater than what has been said in public so far. As police and troops battle to contain the escalating violence, Mr Poire confirmed on Wednesday that police are holding seven people in connection with the massacre of 72 migrants last month. The killings in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas have been blamed on a powerful drug cartel.


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