Seeking to repair damaged relations, President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed yesterday to deepen their cooperation in combating drug violence and declared a breakthrough in efforts to end a long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking, the Associated Press reports. In a joint news conference, Obama praised Calderon for his “extraordinary courage” in fighting the violent drug cartels.
Obama pledged to speed up U.S. aid to train and equip Mexican forces to help, but he acknowledged that the U.S. must stem the flow of cash and guns to Mexico that have aided the cartels. Calderon’s visit came three weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was shot to death in Mexico with a gun smuggled from the U.S. The incident raised questions about Mexico’s ability to control violence and has Obama administration officials considering arming U.S. agents working across the border to ensure their safety. Mexican law bans foreign law enforcement agents working in the country from bearing arms, and Calderon vehemently expressed his opposition to making an exception for U.S. personnel.