As President-elect Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón meet for the first time today, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) expresses its hope that President-elect Obama will follow through with his campaign promise to repair the United States’ relationship with Mexico.
WOLA believes that future cooperation between the two nations to confront the serious common security challenges presented by organized criminal groups should include concrete commitments from the Obama administration to adopt national-level initiatives to address demand for drugs and gun laws that facilitate arms trafficking into Mexico. “The United States government needs to follow through with its voiced commitment to demand reduction by providing more funding, not less, to evidence-based treatment and prevention programs,” states Maureen Meyer, WOLA’s Associate for Mexico and Central America.
Cooperation with Mexico should also focus on structural reforms to Mexico’s institutions. According to Meyer, “Mexico cannot address the weaknesses of its police and judicial systems through additional helicopters and equipment. More needs to be done to strengthen the rule of law and the accountability of Mexico’s security forces.”
WOLA further hopes that President-elect Obama will fulfill his campaign promise to review the trade agreements, starting with the North America Free Trade Agreement, and strengthen mechanisms to guarantee labor rights of all working people and protect the environment.
Maureen Meyer, Associate for Mexico and Central America