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Obama Pledges to Help Mexico Fight Flow of Drugs, Guns

During a visit to Mexico, President Barack Obama pledged renewed U.S. support to help curb the country's drug-related violence. Analysts mull the possible policy changes.

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    And for more, we go to Allert Brown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is a citizen of both Mexico and the United States.

    And Robert Pastor, co-director of North American studies at American University. He served on the National Security Council staff in the Carter administration.

    Welcome, Professors, both.

    Bob Pastor, beginning with you, we heard President Obama and President Calderon pledge close cooperation in this drug war. How close are they really, these two administrations, in how they see the problem and how they want to tackle it?

  • ROBERT PASTOR, American University:

    I think they're much closer than they've ever been. I think they have ushered in a new era away from the finger-pointing between Mexico and the United States blaming each side for the other side of the problem to recognizing you can't manage the problem, let alone solve it, unless you feel a certain shared responsibility.

    I think President Obama has now pledged to accelerate the funding under the Merida Initiative. He's pledged to…


    That was the initiative that actually President Bush proposed?


    President Bush, last year.


    Which is more money for, what, Black Hawk helicopters, other kinds of technical assistance?


    Exactly. In June of 2008, President Bush encouraged Congress to move very rapidly, but, in fact, none of the $1.4 billion has actually been transferred as of yet.

    I think President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both talked about the importance of doing something about the guns coming from the U.S. to Mexico, something important about stopping the money laundering that's going in, and something important about doing the demand side of the problem, through health and education in the United States, which we have been neglecting.