US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered strong support for Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s war on narcotics traffickers on Monday even as drug-related violence showed no sign of abating.
Making her second visit to Mexico in less than a year, the US secretary of state arrived in the central colonial city of Guanajuato as State Department cables released by WikiLeaks revealed US doubts about Mexican intelligence gathering.
More than 34,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderon deployed thousands of army troops and federal police to combat gangs soon after he took office in late 2006. More than 15,000 people were killed last year alone.
The Mexican government says the bloodshed is a sign the gangs are weakening. However, rampant killings, including grenade attacks and decapitations, are spreading across Mexico and beginning to spook international investors.
“The drug traffickers are not going to give up without a terrible fight,” Clinton told reporters at a news conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa in Guanajuato.
“When they do things that are just barbaric, like beheading people, it is meant to intimidate,” she added, saying Calderon had no choice but to confront them. “It is hard. It carries all kinds of costs. But there is no alternative.”
“I’m a fan. I believe [in] and greatly admire what President Calderon is doing,” she said.
Clinton acknowledged the vast US demand for illegal drugs and the flow of US weapons south across the border to drug smugglers were major contributors to the violence.
About two dozen protesters chanted “No more guns” as Clinton arrived for her talks with Espinosa. Later, as they had lunch, another small group shouted “No more violence.”
Clinton then flew to Mexico City for talks with Calderon expected to focus on his push to overhaul Mexico’s troubled judicial system and overcrowded jails despite some opposition in the Mexican Congress.
“Just stay with it,” she told reporters with Espinosa. “A well-equipped, well-trained judicial system is essential.”
Clinton cited the killing and capture of more than two dozen top cartel capos as a sign of Calderon’s success.
However, in a leaked cable from 2009 published by the Spanish newspaper El Pais, US -embassy officials said: “Calderon’s security strategy lacks an effective intelligence apparatus to produce high-quality information and targeted operations.”
The cable described the Mexican government’s intelligence apparatus as “fractured, ad hoc and reliant on US support.” Clinton said she could not comment on the alleged State Department documents released on the Internet.
Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and Scream star Melissa Barrera were each dropped by Hollywood companies after making comments on the Israel-Hamas war that some deemed anti-Semitic. Spyglass Media Group, the production company behind the upcoming Scream VII, acknowledged Barrera’s exit from the horror franchise. The Mexican-born actress, who starred in In the Heights and the two recent Scream installments, had posted statements on Instagram Stories calling the war “genocide and ethnic cleansing.” “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp,” she wrote. Spyglass said in a statement that its position “is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement
‘SYMBOLIC ATTACK’: Ukraine said it downed 74 of the Iranian-made drones, but five people were wounded in Kyiv, as people marked Holodomor Remembrance Day Ukraine on Saturday said it had downed 74 out of 75 drones Russia launched at it overnight, in what it said was the biggest such attack since the start of the invasion in February last year. The Ukrainian army said Russia had launched a “record number” of Iranian-made Shahed drones, the majority of which targeted Kyiv, causing power cuts as temperatures dipped below freezing. The drone attack came as Ukraine marked Holodomor Remembrance Day, commemorating the 1930s starvation of millions in Ukraine under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. “The enemy launched a record number of attack drones at Ukraine. The main direction
CLAIMS: The North Korean leader reportedly inspected images taken by his new spy satellite of Pearl Harbor and a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Busan State media yesterday said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reviewed images taken by his country’s new spy satellite of a US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and “major target” sites across South Korea. Pyongyang said it put a military spy satellite into orbit this week, but Seoul said it was too early to determine if the satellite was functioning as the North claims. Experts have said putting a working reconnaissance satellite into orbit would improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict. Pyongyang previously said, within hours of the
Ecologists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico on Friday relaunched a fundraising campaign to bolster conservation efforts for axolotls, an iconic, endangered fish-like type of salamander. The campaign, called “Adoptaxolotl,” asks people for as little as 600 pesos (US$35) to virtually adopt one of the tiny “water monsters.” Virtual adoption comes with live updates on your axolotl’s health. For less, donors can buy one of the creatures a virtual dinner. In their main habitat the population density of Mexican axolotls has plummeted 99.5 percent in under two decades, scientists behind the fundraiser said. Last year’s Adoptaxolotl campaign raised just more than 450,000