Obama visiting Mexico over border violence

June 22, 2009 12:14:33 PM PDT
On Thursday, President Obama will be in Mexico for a face-to-face meeting with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon. There's a lot on the agenda, including drug violence on the U.S. and Mexico border. The Mexican government said border violence is way down for the first three months of 2009, proof that President Calderon's efforts may be working. However, there is a long way to go. It is still a dangerous situation and on the eve of Obama's visit, security is incredibly tight.

This is the first presidential visit to Mexico City since cartel violence escalated. It is clear Mexican authorities don't want to give cartels a chance to flex their dangerous muscles. Even with the security risk, the White House said it is coming here as a sign of admiration for President Calderon's courageous fight against the cartels.

The U.S. is taking on the fight as well. On Wednesday, President Obama named a border czar in former U.S. Attorney Alan Bersin. His job is to coordinate border efforts and the "shared security responsibility."

"It's a magical opportunity north and south to actually strengthen security for both sides of the border," said Bersin.

Both nations stress that cleaning up the mess along Mexico's northern border is a job for Mexico and the United States.

"We should do more and you should do more, it's only fair. This is our common struggle," said Carlos Gonzalez, the Consul General of Mexico in Houston.

Mexico insists the U.S. should do more to stop the flow of cash and guns into their country, many of them from Texas.

On Tuesday, Mexican authorities seized a frightening cache of cartel weapons including anti-aircraft guns in Mexico's northern Sonora state.

Last month, the U.S. agreed to beef up enforcement, sending hundreds more U.S. agents to the border to slow the southbound flow of drug cartel guns and money. Still it may not be enough to satisfy U.S. leaders.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is pushing President Obama to put the National Guard on the Texas border.

"I am tired of paying for federal responsibility. Texas taxpayers shouldn't be having to spend money to defend our border with Mexico," said Gov. Perry.

The Obama administration told Gov. Perry they're studying the issue and has said little else publically.

The president's visit Thursday should be mostly smiles. The two men have already met twice since Obama's election, but there is some tension. Mexico is not entirely happy with broken U.S. aid promises.

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