03/03/11— During Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s visit to the United States, numerous issues between the two countries were discussed including strengths and weaknesses of the bi-lateral relationship, the issue of trucking in the U.S., and the protection of U.S. agents serving in Mexico. The latter was sparked by the recent death of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, Jaime Zapata. Tensions in the bi-lateral relationship between Mexico and the U.S. have started to rise in regards to the U.S. wanting to see more results and Mexico wanting more support from the U.S. Both countries are also dealing with the effects of WikiLeaks after State Department cables were released that criticized Mexico’s anti-drug campaign. President Calderón spoke out against the cables that questioned Mexican military officials’ “risk-averse habits” and defended the military’s dedication and courage. The issue has called into question the relationship between Calderón and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual. Pascual had signed one of the leaked cables describing how the Mexican navy capitalized on intelligence shared by U.S. officials in its capture of a high profile trafficker after the Mexican army failed to act on the information.
Trucking was another issue discussed in President Calderón’s visit to the U.S. The idea of Mexican trucking has created a strain in the bi-lateral relationship, as the U.S. has stopped the flow of Mexican trucks on American highways and Mexico in turn has responded with higher tariff taxes on American goods. The White House concluded that American and Mexican carriers would be able to engage in “cross-border operations, provided the Mexican trucks met U.S. safety standards.”
In regards to the Merida Initiative, President Obama remarked that the U.S. will work harder to quicken the delivery of both equipment and training to Mexico. He also said that the U.S. government will do more to “crack down” on fire arms and money that flow from each country, while stating that he will use education to try to curb the U.S. demand for drugs, a demand that “helps to fuel the scourge” in Mexico.
President Calderón also remarked that he would speak with the Senate and Congress of Mexico to discuss ways in which the government could provide security for U.S. agents working in Mexico, specifically the concept of the use of weapons by foreign agents. President Obama said that the U.S. will review its own policies to protect agents working in Mexico. After ICE agent Jaime Zapata was killed on February 15th, there has been a growing demand for the protection of U.S. agents working within Mexico.