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Clinton vs Obama on Mexico

Friday, September 10th, 2010

An interesting split between President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the problem of drug cartels in Mexico. As reported by the BBC.

Barack Obama

Obama says Mexico drug crime is not as bad as Colombia

President Obama has denied that rising violence is making Mexico more and more like Colombia at the height of its drugs war.

The remark is an apparent contradiction to comments made by his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

She said on Wednesday that the drug war in Mexico had begun to resemble the violence in Colombia 20 years ago.

But Mr Obama told a US Spanish-languange newspaper that there was no comparison between the two.

“Mexico is vast and progressive democracy, with a growing economy, and as a result you cannot compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia 20 years ago,” he told the Los Angeles-based daily La Opinion.

Mrs Clinton made her remarks after a foreign policy speech at a think tank in Washington.

Drug cartels, she said, were “showing more and more indices of insurgencies”.

The traffickers were “in some cases, morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an insurgency in Mexico and in Central America”, she said.

I think I’ll agree with Obama on this one. The problems in Colombia have always included a serious political angle, in the left-wing FARC. In Mexico, the problems are purely drug related with no political movement working alongside it or in parallel to it.