Back in April Mexican President Felipe Calderón pleaded to a joint session of U.S. Congress for more help in limiting the flow of weapons to Mexico. “Believe me, many of these guns are not going to honest American hands,” said Calderón. Earlier this week, a report released based on Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) data and prepared by the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns justified Calderón’s cry for help, revealing that three out of four recovered guns used in crimes in Mexico can be traced to gun stores in the U.S.
Today Calderón told Univision Al Punto anchor Maria Elena Salinas that U.S. lawmakers are not only failing to address immigration or the drug trade, they also aren’t doing enough to stop the flow of weapons across the border:
CALDERON: The principle thing we have in common with Colombia is that we suffer from the consumption of drugs of the United States — we’re both victims of the enormous consumption of drugs by America and now the the sale of arms by the American industry.
SALINAS: What is being done to avoid this situation?
CALDERON: The Mexican government is confiscating the guns, the American authorities — you’d have to ask them. I haven’t seen much in terms of stopping the flow of guns. [...] The truth is if it weren’t for the flow of weapons from the United States to Mexican criminals and other parts of the world, we wouldn’t be seeing the levels of violence that we’re witnessing. [...]
The Americans, rather than regulating or establishing an adequate drug or immigration or arms legislation have allowed organized crime to regulate those markets. And the massacre of San Fernando shows the consequences of not addressing issues that need to be regulated such as immigration, drugs, or weapons.
Calderón once again pointed to the expiration of the assault weapons ban in the U.S. as part of the problem, stating, “[t]his problem [drug war] is also a problem of the United States, caused by the consumption of drugs in the United States and now exacerbated by the irresponsable sale of guns in the United States.” The Washington Post reported this past week that “the National Rifle Association…is pushing for legislation that threatens to gut the ATF’s already limited ability to keep illegal guns off the streets.”
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized the role the U.S. plays in Mexico woes. “It’s not only guns; it’s weapons, it’s arsenals of all kinds that come south,” Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations. “So I feel a real sense of responsibility to do everything we can. And again, we’re working hard to come up with approaches that will actually deliver.”
Meanwhile, Calderón’s militarization of the drug war has also come under heavy criticism. During the interview, Calderon also touched on immigration policy, without, as the Wonk Room explains, mentioning Mexico’s own complicity in the issue.