Mexico’s president, who has waged a bloody war with drug cartels during his term in which violence has increased, defended his country at today’s Rose Garden press conference while arguing that the problems of his nation are interconnected with his North American neighbors.
President Felipe Calderon said that deterring the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington would not have been possible without U.S.-Mexico cooperation.
“We have to understand where the greatest threats to security actually lay,” he said, steering toward the mean streets just down the road from the White House.
“In Washington, for instance, the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is higher by 10 — more than 10 or 20 than the largest number in any of the big cities in Mexico.”
Despite warnings about Mexico travel, Calderon said, last year 23 million tourists flew to Mexico, another 7 million disembarked off cruise ships, and another 50 million tourists came through at land border crossings.
“And that also explains why, despite the fact that a state such as Texas recommends that none of its young people should travel to anywhere in Mexico, that’s why there are hundreds of thousands of young Texans who go to Mexico, enjoy it, and why we haven’t seen one single incident with U.S. spring-breakers in Mexico this past spring, for instance,” he said.
An El Paso Times analysis last week found that from 2007 to 2010 Mexico had nearly 15 times more drug-related slayings than the United States, even as experts contend the figures are under-reported.