The US is worried about Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent victory in Mexico’s presidential election. Washington fears that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate could shift the focus of his attention from dealing with cross-border drug trafficking to fighting crimes against ordinary Mexicans while the US badly needs Mexican assistance in combating drug trafficking.
By Vladimir Gladkov
The US has every reason to fear the return of the PRI which ruled Mexico until 2000 and was notorious for its readiness to strike deals with drug cartels. Nieto has already changed Mexico’s focus from combating drug trafficking to resisting crime, kidnapping, and robbery, issues which matter more to ordinary Mexicans than preventing the flow of drugs to the US.
Anti-drug mafia campaign launched by the previous leader Felipe Calderon soon turned into an internal bloodbath which involved police and the army. Mexicans are unlikely to want this to continue and are likely to approve of the new policy. These changes would certainly affect US-Mexican relations and the cooperation between Mexico’s Center for Research and National Security and its American anti-drug partners.
US government agencies remember pretty well the numerous corruption and mafia accusations against Mexico’s PRI party.
However, the US itself has done a lot to undermine the bilateral relations between the two countries, for example by imposing tough anti-immigrant measures which prompted Calderon to accuse America of racism. Another point of contention between Mexico and the US is American gun laws.
US gun manufacturers are believed to have supplied Mexican drug cartel with weapons. Calderon’s appeals to the US to toughen its gun laws and control gun trafficking have been largely ignored by the US. The only attempt to do so was the Fast and Furious Operation which ended in failure, which had a lasting negative impact on Obama’s Administration.
The new Mexican president obviously doesn’t want to get involved in a conflict with the US and has pledged to carry on fighting against the country’s drug mafia. He even appointed Colombian police general Oscar Naranjo as his aide. The latter has a lot of experience of working with US drug police.
If America doesn’t want to have to tackle the drug threat on its own, it should revise its policy towards Mexico.