Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Financial Times
The administration of Barack Obama on Tuesday stepped up efforts to crack down on guns and money flowing to Mexican drugs cartels in the latest sign that the relationship with Mexico is rocketing up the US political agenda.
As two separate crises – drugs-related violence that has claimed more than 7,000 lives in Mexico since the start of 2008 and a $2.4bn trade dispute – threaten to spiral out of control, the administration said it would send more personnel and equipment to the border.
Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretary, announced deployments to the south-west border totalling more than 360 agents and involving the doubling of specialised security forces from 95 to 190, together with 100 customs officers to inspect goods leaving the US.
Separately, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is sending 100 more agents to the border in the next 45 days.
In a further sign of the increased US emphasis, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, on Wednesday begins a two-day trip to the country, one of several visits by senior members of Mr Obama’s cabinet ahead of the president himself travelling to Mexico next month....(Click for remainder).