Feature

How they see us: Exporting death to Mexico

The Mexican president demanded that the U.S. create a gun registry for assault weapons.

President Felipe Calderón has put the U.S. on notice, said Mayolo López in El Norte. At a recent meeting in Washington with President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Calderón demanded that the U.S. create a gun registry for assault weapons, if not ban them again altogether. He said that if American guns continued to flow uncounted into Mexico, the bloodbath engulfing our country would eventually spill over into the U.S. “The very future of American society will be threatened,” he warned. Calderón also risked offending his host by pointing out that thanks to the free trafficking in guns, Washington, D.C., has a murder rate more than twice as high as that of Mexico City. Encouragingly, Obama seemed receptive to our president’s message. “When you have innocent families and women and children who are being gunned down on the streets, that should be everybody’s problem,” Obama said. 

That’s a lovely little speech, said Miguel Ángel Rivera in La Jornada. But don’t expect Obama to actually do anything, particularly in an election year. The U.S. president can’t risk alienating “the war industry” by cracking down even on illegal gun sales, so there’s no chance that he will try to stiffen regulations on legal sales. To even hint at doing so would be to torpedo his chances of re-election. The National Rifle Association is simply too powerful to be confronted. Remember, its lobbyists managed to kill a bill in the U.S. House last year that would have banned arms trafficking to Mexico.

It’s time to redefine the NRA as not a lobbying group but a cartel, said Andrés Oppenheimer in La Reforma. Mexico has the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas cartel, which engage in drug trafficking; the U.S. has the NRA, whose members dominate weapons trafficking. In much the same way that the drug gangs have managed to get Mexican local and state officials on their payrolls, so too has the NRA infiltrated the U.S. government, counting senators and congressmen on its payroll. That’s how it managed to get the ban on military-style assault rifles lifted in 2004. Not coincidentally, gun crime in Mexico began to soar the very next year. The NRA cartel bears “an enormous responsibility for the violence that is taking place in Mexico.” 

The U.S. doesn’t just have cartels like ours, said El Universal in an editorial. It also has police corruption like ours. In the past five years, nearly 80 U.S. Border Patrol agents and customs officers have been arrested along the Mexican border for assisting in drug and gun smuggling. Hundreds more are under investigation. Last month, three U.S. soldiers were arrested on charges of acting as paid assassins for a Mexican drug gang. U.S. officials have finally conceded that America’s “high drug consumption and indiscriminate sale of assault weapons” have fed the growth of criminal gangs south of the Rio Grande. But do they realize that these criminals are operating north of the river, too? “Organized crime today is transnational, and will only be eliminated if attacked with equal force in all countries in which it resides.”

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