The U.S. needs to do more to help Mexico battle narcotics gangs, because Mexican police are dying in a war fueled largely by U.S. drug consumption, Mexico’s president said yesterday, the Houston Chronicle reports. “The drug-trafficking problem, that has been and continues to be the principal cause of border violence, comes down to one undeniable fact: The American narcotics market is the biggest in the world,” President Felipe Calderon told U.S. and Mexican border governors in Mexico City.
Gang violence has killed some 4,000 Mexicans since Calderon started an anti-narcotics offensive in January 2007. While many of the victims are suspected members of the drug cartels, an increasing number are soldiers and federal police who are on the front lines of the drug war. On Monday, seven federal police officers were mowed down in the violence-torn city of Culiacan by narcotics gangs armed with grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. The U.S. Senate last week approved $350 million in anti-narcotics aid to Mexico. However, the aid package is conditional upon Mexico reining in human rights abuses by its soldiers. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he offered to lobby the federal government to crack down on arms smuggling into Mexico.