NR: "The Mexican government will be looking for a lot more from President Obama."
August 09, 2009
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Michael phones one in from Guadalajara as President Obama heads there for a short summit with the Mexican and Canadian leaders.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: President Obama is now on his way to Mexico for a summit with North American leaders. The president boarded Air Force One moments ago after departing Marine One there. He's expected to meet with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon later on today. A host of issues are expected to be discussed, including drug violence along the border. In Guadalajara right now CNN's Michael Ware. He spent a lot of time covering the drug wars throughout that country. Michael, what kind of support in this drug war will Mexico most likely ask for?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, they're certainly going to ask for the delivery of the promised aid money under the Merida Initiative, which has guaranteed $1.4 billion to Mexico over three years. Now, some of that money is currently being held up in Congress. They'd certainly like to see that freed up. There's a whole host of issues involved here in supporting President Felipe Calderon's war on the drug cartels here, and that includes even just the delivery of promised helicopters.
The Mexican government has committed more than 40,000 army soldiers to the streets of its own cities, so bad has this drug war become. Indeed, we've seen just last month alone there's been a spike in violence here in this country, 850 Mexicans died in drug-related violence in July just itself. So the drug war is definitely in full throes yet the Mexican government is all but fighting it on its own. Just a few hundred million dollars in aid from the United States each year simply is not enough to support the Mexican government. The Mexican government will be looking for a lot more from President Obama. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: These are going to be tough discussions that take place in so little time during the president's visit. Michael Ware thanks so much for your report from Guadalajara.