Obama, Calderon and Harper to Talk Drug War
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Mexico's drug violence pandemic is tipped to be the hot topic during President Felipe Calderon's visit to the White House today. Mexico's president will meet with President Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the economy, climate change and security issues—but Mexico's ongoing, unchecked drug war may well take top priority. Since taking office in 2006, Calderon has made aggressive efforts to curb drug-related violence in Mexico, including reforming the judicial system, raising military salaries and deploying thousands of Mexican police to cartel-run areas. But these efforts have often seemed counter-productive, with violence escalating between warring cartels as military and police crack down, and Calderon has expressed guarded support for drug decriminalization in the US. Today's Rose Garden chat could focus on US involvement in the violence, with an estimated $2 billion a year in cash and arms flowing south into Mexico each year. Congress has authorized just $1.6 million in aid to help diminish the power of cartels; the war continues to rage south of the border and has claimed the lives of about 50,000 people since Calderon took over. This will his final visit to The White House before his six-year term ends in November.