WASHINGTON – The US government on Thursday admitted that drug trafficking and the criminal groups who engage in the illicit practice is Washington’s problem, not just Mexico’s, and the administration said that it is necessary to implement a plan to reduce domestic demand for narcotics.
“America must also confront the reality that we are the market. But for the seemingly endless demand of addicted users and the successful recruitment of young and vulnerable new users, there would be no market,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a high-level dialogue on security with top Mexican government officials.
“We Americans must own this problem as ours,” he added.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly agreed that the US is a “magnet” for illegal drugs due to the demand created by many addicts, and he admitted that it is “our friends in Mexico” who suffer the most from the violence associated with drug trafficking and organized crime.
He went on to say that until illicit drug consumption in the US is reduced “we are fighting a losing battle on the border.”
If Americans understood that spending a weekend getting high on illegal drugs leads to deaths in Mexico and Colombia and the murder of reporters and people all over the region, that would significantly reduce the amount of drugs they consume, he asserted.
Kelly said that although illegal drug consumption can never be reduced to zero, a comprehensive program to reduce drug demand in the US is needed, and mayors, governors and public figures must become involved.
His remarks were similar to those he had made at a conference two weeks ago at which he lamented the fact that the US is doing “almost nothing” to reduce domestic demand for illicit drugs.
Tillerson and Kelly spoke with reporters after meeting with their Mexican counterparts, Luis Videgaray and Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, with whom Tillerson said they held a very useful and fruitful dialogue.
He added that the group had identified new strategies to use against the drug cartels, with a special emphasis on cash flows, adding that the US and Mexico will attack the means of drug production, cash flows and weapons production.
Videgaray said, however, that during Thursday’s meeting “no specific strategies were developed,” although the officials reached a “basic (understanding) on the nature of the problem and that all elements in the (production and distribution) chain must be confronted jointly.”
The two nations “need to overcome the game of placing blame and pointing,” the Mexican foreign minister said.
Meanwhile, Osorio said that it is necessary to “deny markets” to the drug cartels and that “Mexico is part of the problem because it has to place more impediments” in the way of illicit drug production.