New Mexican Pres Urges US to Help End Drug War
Enrique Peña Nieto says that more US-Mexico collaboration would benefit the economy and security of both nations.
Newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who will take office on Saturday, has enlisted the help of the US in tackling his country's ongoing drug conflict. His decision to depend on the US represents a break from other Latin American countries, who have been attempting to diverge from US tactics, looking instead to Europe for solutions. In a meeting with Barack Obama on Tuesday, Peña Nieto said his long-term plan includes establishing jobs and social programs for those who might otherwise be drawn into the drug trade. He also hopes that economic cooperation with the US could stimulate job growth across North America as well. Outgoing president Felipe Calderon had also been a proponent of cooperation with the US, but he took a more combative approach; he often criticized the US for fueling the violence by providing drug cartels with easily obtainable firearms and a massive, insatiable drug market. Perhaps as a result, his attempts to engage the help of his northern neighbors proved largely futile. Peña Nieto is working to emphasize that his more cooperative approach could benefit the US both economically and in terms of public safety. According to a study from University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, foreign-born residents and visitors to Arizona annually contribute over $31 billion to the state’s economy—an example of how strengthening Mexico-US economic linkage could bring in revenue for Arizona and other border states. Also, with the looming possibility that Mexico's drug war could bleed across the border, US collaboration with Mexico could help keep the violence off US soil.