Obama urges $100m for Mexico drugs war

President Barack Obama will press Congress to release more than $100m (£60m) of aid to help Mexico in its war against the drug cartels.

The funds have been held up by complaints on Capitol Hill that the Mexican army has committed human rights abuses in its struggle to destroy the drug barons and end the violence that has killed an estimated 11,000 people in the country.

The issue was one of several bones of contention at yesterday's summit between the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico in Guadalajara, now an annual fixture aimed at building on the ties established through Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement that came into effect in 1994.

Mexican officials have repeatedly pushed for the money to be released, insisting that reports of abuses by the army have been exaggerated, and at a private meeting here with his opposite number Felipe Calderon, Mr Obama reiterated his support for the Mexican government's offensive.

Likewise, at a press conference yesterday he commended the Mexican government for its "courage in taking on the drug cartels" and pledged to "remain a full partner in that effort."

But the money has not been forthcoming, despite the administration's best efforts, including Mr Obama's acknowledgement that the US shared responsibility for the crisis given its demand for drugs and its role as a de facto supplier of the guns that arm the militias operated by the cartels.

The drugs issue is one of several that was unlikely to be resolved by the talks between Mr Obama, Mr Calderon and Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, at a summit that lasted a mere 20 hours.

Their personal relations may be excellent, to the point they have been dubbed the "Three Amigos", but the problems confronting the leaders are sensitive and, if anything, have been intensified by the global economic crisis.

They include a row over the cancellation by Congress of a Nafta provision allowing Mexican trucks to operate in the US, and the Buy American provisions that formed part of Mr Obama's $780bn stimulus package, to which Canada and Mexico have objected.

The immigration issue is also unresolved. After the Bush administration failed to push through changes, Mr Obama has said that he wants a bill to straighten out the status of millions of illegal immigrants in the US, many of whom are from Mexico, but it will have to wait its turn behind the his top priorities of reforming the US health care and energy sectors.

The three countries did however agree to step up co-operation on swine flu, which first broke out in Mexico. After a summer lull, the H1N1 virus is predicted to return with a vengeance to the northern hemisphere during the autumn. Public health officials are readying medicines and public education campaigns, hoping to curb the spread of the virus without disrupting trade and tourism.

"We're going to do everything possible to minimise the impact," John Brennan, one of Mr Obama's top homeland security advisers, said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer / Full Stack Developer

£24500 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat