Albright Defends Mexico's Commitment! 

Albright Defends Mexico's Commitment! 
Posted by FoM on February 10, 1999 at 15:50:09 PT

As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with top Mexican officials Wednesday, the State Department defended Mexico's commitment to combating drug trafficking and the level of its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement officials. 
But spokesman James P. Rubin suggested that Mexico's best efforts may be not be enough to overcome the drug kingpins and the billions of dollars at their disposal. ``There is a difference between cooperation and success,'' Rubin said, responding to a Washington Post article Wednesday that described the results of Mexico's counterdrug effort as ``dismal.'' It said that by almost any measure, Mexico made no significant progress in reducing drug trafficking. As an example, it said seizures of cocaine, marijuana and heroin fell significantly over the past year. Rubin said he had no information on the allegation. Counterdrug cooperation was high on the agenda of Albright's meeting with Mexican Interior Secretary Francisco Labastida, who oversees domestic security, and other officials. The meeting also laid the groundwork for a visit to Mexico this weekend by President Clinton. At a news conference, Labastida and several other members of the Mexican delegation acknowledged that seizures are down in some aspects. But, they said, this could be attributable to a number of factors, including a shift by Colombian narcotraffickers to transit routes other than Mexico because of increased law enforcement and to widespread fires and flooding in Mexico last year. The up-and-down tendency of the figures on seizures should not obscure the fact that Mexico is greatly increasing its law enforcement resources and is waging the drug war with much greater efficiency, they said. In addition to Albright, the delegation met with Attorney General Janet Reno; Barry McCaffrey, the White House drug policy director; and Doris Meissner, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Clinton administration is reviewing the cooperation of some 30 countries that are either used for drug production or transiting of drugs. Countries found not to be fully cooperating can lose certain economic benefits. Announcements are expected at the end of the month. Over the objection of some in Congress, Mexico has been ``certified'' as fully cooperating each year since Congress mandated the process in 1986. Rubin said it is hard to overestimate the challenge facing Mexico. ``We all need to bear in mind that there is the sheer magnitude of the drug trafficking problem that both Mexico and the United States are confronting together,'' Rubin said. ``While we're both devoting huge resources to combating the problem, the traffickers have billions of dollars at their disposal and are entirely unprincipled as they ply their elicit trade.'' Rubin also praised the ``courageous leadership'' of Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, who, he said, is ``strongly committed'' to countering what Mexicans see as their No. 1 security threat. ``And they are cooperating more closely with the United States at virtually every level than ever before,'' he said. Rubin added that the Mexican performance is not as negative as it was portrayed in the Post article. As an example of cooperation, he said there has been extensive behind-the-scenes cooperation on multiple, ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration cases. He said Mexico has agreed to transfer Mexican prisoners in several cases to appear as witnesses in U.S. trials. Rubin also noted that Mexico recently announced a plan for additional spending of nearly $500 million over three years for new planes, ships, radar and other law enforcement equipment. 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: