A Mexican Easter

Poor Mexico: "So Close To America, So Far From God."

The Easter holidays and Mexico City would not be complete without Labor protests in the Zocalo. Mexican President Calderon is the target and so is the “war on drugs” he declared in 2006 — a struggle that has so far seen more than 30,000 killed, many as a result of turf battles between the cartels.

The frustration I have is with the failure of many here in Mexico City to understand that the Obama administration has been highly sophisticated in its understanding of the complex social, economic and political problems engulfing Mexico. The administration also has a real appreciation of the American contribution to the crisis — both as the biggest market for Mexican narcotics and as the biggest exporter of guns to Mexico.

Quietly and carefully the administration has been trying to edge Calderon towards reform — of the judiciary, of money-laundering regulations, etc. It has also emphasized — again carefully and quietly — that the war on drugs must be accompanied by a real civil society and development strategy. And it has acknowledged publicly the problem of gun smuggling into Mexico from the United States, and has tried to do something about that but is hampered by American domestic politics.