April 15th, 2009
02:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama heads to Mexico amid escalating drug violence

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/15/obama.mexico/art.obamaeconomy.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama travels to Mexico on Thursday as the country deals with a violent surge in drug crimes."]
(CNN) - President Obama travels to Mexico on Thursday as the United States' neighbor to the south continues to wrestle with increasingly deadly drug wars.

Obama recently announced a crackdown on border violence and on the smuggling of cash and weapons into Mexico - a step that could mark an end to a blame game over where responsibility for the violence lies.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the president designated three Mexican organizations, which he says are involved in drug trafficking, to face hefty financial sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The law, signed by President Bill Clinton in December 1999, authoritizes the president to impose penalties against foreign drug kingpins - and organizations that do business with them, according to the Treasury Department.

The president's action comes ahead of his trip to Mexico - along with attending the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago later this week - where drug violence will undoubtedly be debated. It's traditional for the new U.S. president to go north and south early on. Obama traveled to Canada in February.

Authorities on both sides of the border blame powerful drug cartels for escalating bloodshed. Analysts have said the bulk of the violence takes place along the U.S. border, particularly in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and Tijuana - as well as on Mexico's western coast.

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Filed under: Mexico • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Obama 2.0

    Get-er done Bossman!

    April 15, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    hope he stays there

    April 15, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. obama/mama

    Secret Service keep our President safe. Good luck Mr. President.

    April 15, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Obama Victim

    Perhaps Obama will use his trademark "deeply disappointed" tongue lashing to address the violence coming from Mexico.

    It worked so well on North Korea (who launched their missile ANYWAY) and Pirates (who tried again to overtake an American ship).

    April 15, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Shirley In California

    I hope this trip is a success and I hope you return to us safely. We the people need you.

    April 15, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Beverly

    Mr. President, I'm always praying for your safety wherever you go.

    April 15, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Mel

    Well thats daring. I like it.

    April 15, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Free Market Solution To Drugs.

    Here's the solution to drug use in the United States. With no customers ... no cartel ...

    1.) Aggressively arrest users of cocaine, marijuana and heroin. Place them in a drug user's database.

    2.) Sentence them to 2 months in jail; fine them $1,000.

    3.) Sentence them to 3 years of probation where ONCE A WEEK they have to come and take a drug test in front of a witness; sorry you shy ones.

    4.) if drugs are found in their system; repeat steps 2 & 3 except the fine doubles for each failed drug test.

    5.) If they don't pay the fine they go to jail for 2 years. Drugs tests are also administered in jail.

    6.) All criminal charges for using drugs are misdemenors

    April 15, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama doesn't need to go to Mexico – he needs to go to his own backyard and find out who the corrupt officials are in this country who are on the take and keep the drugs flowing freely.

    April 15, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Bill Coleman

    It is good to know that the President is "heading to Mexico" to confront the problem of drug violence. However he must realize that long ago the problem crossed the border (along with thousands of illegals and is rampant in U.S. border States.) So. Calif. is a prime example of the problem where hispanic gangs not only fight each other but, more significantly, prey on citizens *robbery, burglary, theft, murder, etc. etc.
    The "Crips"and the "Bloods" gangs have now spread thorughout the country as has their preditory activities. Sadly, in all too many cases lawful Mexicans residing in the US tend to "look the other way". That "look theother way" program needs to be replaced with some hard-nosed enforcement.

    April 15, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    Before any of you haters say that he's a "Blame America" person, the US IS the cause of a lot of the drug problem that is coming over the border. Cut the demand, the trafficking is stiffled.

    April 15, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Heather-NC

    Will Mr. Obama blame America as Clinton did for the drug wars in Mexico? Can't wait to see what else this "rotten" country has done to others.

    April 15, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Baze

    There's no peaceful solution to this. The cartels' arsenal eliminates whatever leverage that the Mexican "government" has, and they could give a crap about U.S. sanctions.

    April 15, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. independent liberal

    He needs to consider and open a dialogue on the legalization of Cannabis, here, at home. and stop acting like it's a joke!

    April 15, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |