According to a statement issued yesterday by the White House, United States President Barack Obama, and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, agreed that the leaking of confidential State Department documents by the site, WikiLeaks — described as a deplorable affair — should not contaminate the bilateral relationship or cause distraction from the important cooperation between both countries. According to the same document, the U.S. government reaffirmed to Mexico its commitment to work together against transnational criminal organizations, to strengthen cooperation at the border and to improve the economic welfare of both peoples.
Communication between the two leaders coincided with the most recent disclosure of the contents of confidential cables, in which U.S. diplomats warn of the lack of control and the lawlessness that prevail on the border with Guatemala, where the trafficking of drugs, people and contraband weapons has taken over — according to the telegrams. They warned about the inefficiency and corruption of the police, contending that the helpless population must rely on protection from criminal organizations like Los Zetas.
It makes little sense to deny obvious truths, for example, that the Mexican government has lost control of large areas of the country — not only on the southern border — and that criminal organizations have filled the power vacuum in more than a few of them. But this can be explained, to a large extent, by the unwillingness of the government in Washington to monitor the sales of high-powered weapons being exported to Mexico, which constitute essential fuel for the firepower of cartels operating in the country.
Until now, this phenomenon has not been stopped, despite the 30,000 American troops who, according to the mentioned cable, monitor the long, common border. This calls into question whether it would be inappropriate to issue, for that strip of land, a criticism similar to that formulated by U.S. diplomats, regarding the southern border of our country; after all, the problematic situation existing today on the border with Guatemala is closely related to the shortcomings and lack of control prevailing on the northern border, falling under the responsibility of authorities from the neighboring country.
Moreover, U.S. authorities have not been able to control the transfer, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs within their own territory. They have remained reluctant to acknowledge the operation of drug cartels in the U.S., as if the structure built throughout the continent by these organizations would be interrupted, upon crossing the Rio Grande, and as if a vast apparatus of money laundering were not embedded within the U.S. economy, causing drug trafficking to be highly profitable.
Such omissions cause one to evaluate as hypocritical and unfair the attitude of U.S. authorities toward the fight against organized crime. The commitment of Washington on this issue is put into question, and the strategic error of our government is made even more apparent — that of becoming involved in a war that is essentially not our own and for which it has not had, to make matters worse, the support it should have had from its American counterparts.
In short, the declarative exchange between Los Pinos and the White House following the leak by WikiLeaks highlights a loss of focus by both governments in the fight against drug trafficking. It must be acknowledged that the terms under which both countries have undertaken the fight against the drug cartels have no possibility of succeeding.