Obama says capture of cartel boss shows Mexico serious about drug fight

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:14am EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Anthropology Museum during his visit to Mexico City May 3, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Anthropology Museum during his visit to Mexico City May 3, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Mexico's capture of the leader of a notorious drug cartel provided reassurance that President Enrique Pena Nieto's commitment to fighting drug trafficking was solid.

"What it shows is that the new administration of President Pena Nieto is serious about continuing the efforts to break up these transnational drug operations," Obama said in an interview with Univision's Los Angeles affiliate. "And there had been some question about that, I think early on during his campaign, and immediately after his election."

Pena Nieto caused some concern in the United States by dialing back the aggressive campaign against drug trafficking pursued by his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, in favor of a policy emphasizing reducing violence.

Under the new approach, Pena Nieto reined in the wide latitude Calderon gave the U.S. government in working with Mexican officials, replacing it with a single point of contact, Mexico's Ministry of Interior.

Obama endorsed the policy in May during a visit to Mexico, saying it was up to the Mexican people to determine their own security structures.

But he said on Tuesday that Monday's arrest of Miguel Angel Trevino, also called Z-40, the leader of the Zetas drug cartel, offered proof that Pena Nieto's approach could be effective.

"He indicated to me that he recognizes the need to deal with these transnational drug cartels in a serious way," Obama said. "And I think this is evidence of it."

Obama said that clamping down on the international drug trade in Mexico was in the U.S. interest, and that Washington supported Mexican efforts. The United States recognizes for its part that it has a role to play in curtailing the market for drugs at home and the flow of guns to Mexico.

"We want to make sure that they know that we're a partner," Obama said. "It also means though we have to continue doing our part here in the United States to reduce demand, and reduce the flow of guns and cash down south."

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (2)
Graybiker wrote:
I agree, it shows the Mexican President is serious, too bad he still has all the decades of corruption and infiltration within the government thwarting his efforts. We’ll see how long this guy stays locked up, likely will be sprung by his gang or released by some pocketed official.

Obama says we need to reduce demand, fine, legalize marijuana at the Federal level, and do to the whole cartel system what the end of prohibition did to the Mob. (take away their cash cow)
less cash = less guns = less power.

Jul 16, 2013 12:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
GSRyder wrote:
The dog and pony show continues . Yes, the evil plan is working perfectly for the USA . Start a conflit elsewhere, arm all sides and sit back and conduct the body count . We, the USA has ignored our southern border for ever . The cheap labor was a great idea 60 years ago . Then the USA had a demand for cheap Mexi weed, and an open border . We tolerated that until the early 80′s when the DEA was created . The weed crack down was on . By coincidence that at the same time cocaine was coming from Ollie Point, Costa Rica . Ollie North “CIA”, arms for hostages, guns for cocaine, Iran Contra . The cocaine blight was created here and the Mexi weed is no longer needed . Now, we grow the best weed on the planet here in the USA . The system taxes some of that, the rest is on the streets like the Mexi weed was forever . In our zeal to have the best military on the planet, we’ve created generations of obsolette weapons . Now we’ve armed every military and policeman south of the Rio Grande . With our surplus M-16′s, tank, apcs, and aircraft . When things seem to be as sour as our mouths can handle . Fast and Furious comes along . Remember, arming the drug cartels, with illegally PURCAHSED and TAXES weapons . Only to have our law enforcement members come into the sights of same, some dying . I traveled to Mexico 30 times since 9/11 . It is a disgrace to see the militarisation of a nation, because of policies established in DC . I was briefed by Mexician professionals about Fast and Furious, 14 months before it hit the US news . Ex presidents of Mexico plead with our leadship to decriminalise weed . They become the brunt of jokes and insults . In Pennsylvania, the largest drug busts on record, came as a result of routine traffic stops . There in lies the true desire to stop the flow of drugs here . If we, the law enforcement happen upon it we will prosicute . Where and when are the mega dealer arrests happening north of the Rio Grande .

Jul 17, 2013 8:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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