In an unusually clear admission that the "drug war" is not just a Mexican problem,U.S. Defence Secretary,Robert Gates,said today,"narco-trafficking is a problem for the hemisphere as a whole."
Speaking at a regional security meeting in Barbados,Mr Gates said that Mexico's success at putting pressure on drug-traffickers is forcing them to use alternative routes through the Caribbean. Other leaders said drug smuggling is already increasing in that region.
The U.S. defence boss went on to say "the United States is re-engaging in this region and [...] we will work with these countries to address these problems".
Media in the U.S. often portray drug-trafficking as a Mexican problem,sensationalizing stories that have the double-whammy effect of hurting tourism in Mexico too. Depsite the fact that almost all the related violence has been along the border with the U.S. many hundreds or thousands of miles away from tourist resorts.
Experts have long pointed out that the drugs are merely on route to the biggest consumer market for them in the world: the U.S.
The new comments from the U.S. government will be seen as a further acknowledgement of this fact,admitting that drug traffickers will always use the route of least resistance to reach their destinations in the U.S.
Last year,U.S. Senators went so far as to say the U.S. Government's lack of attention to decades of drug use in the U.S. has played a central role in the violence.
The Los Angeles Times,said at the time,"For years,elected officials in Washington portrayed Mexico as being largely responsible for the problems spawned by the increasingly powerful crime syndicates -- and for fixing them."
Chairman of a special Senate "drug war" committee,Richard J. Durbin,said,"The insatiable demand for illegal drugs in the United States keeps the Mexican drug cartels in business".
The Mexican government's crackdown on drug cartels in recent years is clearly having an effect with most of the violence now being between warring gangs,fighting to retain their part of the turf as their activities become more and more difficult.
Mexico's tourists zones have always been safe,and remain so today. Research last year even argued that resort areas in Mexico are up to 26 times safer than similar tourist zones in the U.S.,ironically suggesting that many Americans are safer while on vacation in Mexico than when at home.