News / Americas

US Drug Czar Kerlikowske Supports Mexican Authorities

US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske
US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske
TEXT SIZE - +

The top drug control official in the U.S., Gil Kerlikowske, is speaking out against increasing drug violence in Mexico and in support of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. In the most recent violence, 21 people died Thursday in a gun battle between rival gangs in Sonora, Mexico, just 20 kilometers from the U.S. border. In an exclusive interview, VOA's Carolyn Presutti spoke with Kerlikowske.

Every scene has familiar police markings - blood of the fallen, connections to drugs.  Fifteen dead in a gun battle in Taxco.
Fifty-five more at an abandoned silver mine near that same tourist town.

And every time Mexican President Felipe Calderon calls for it to stop.

"We are dealing with security for the whole country," said President Calderon. "Criminals don't discriminate. This is a moment of unity and decision."

Mr. Calderon can count on the Obama administration to back him.  Gil Kerlikowske is the top U.S. drug control official, commonly known as America's drug czar.  He has a long history in law enforcement.

"I'm very pleased that, one, President Calderone is very courageous, in his administration, in taking this issue on," said Gil Kerlikowske. "And as he says, this is a question of who is going to run that country.  Is it going to be criminals, criminal enterprises?  Or is it going to be the elected officials and the appointed officials of that democracy?"

Crime experts say the cartels are running Mexico.  Midway through Mr. Calderon's six year term, drug-related violence has claimed more than 23,000 lives.  And lately, the targets have been political.

A deputy state prosecutor was gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, along the border with Texas.

A gubernatorial candidate was ambushed in Tamaulipas.

"I think history throughout the world, when it comes to law enforcement taking on organized crime, always shows an increase or a spike in violence as you confront them," said Kerlikowske. "That's horrible for the people in Mexico."

Kerlikowske spent years as a police chief in American cities, but he favors treatment programs over jail time for drug uses. He also praises Colombian President Avaro Uribe for lowering his country's coca production, resulting in less cocaine passing through Mexico into the United States.

"For many years, we would point our finger, particularly at Mexico, and say 'Please stop sending your drugs across the border to us.' And Mexico would say, 'Well look, if you weren't consuming so many drugs, we wouldn't have the problems we are having.'  I think we're pretty far past that," he said.

With drug use high, Kerlikowske says U.S. scientists conduct 85 percent of the world's research on drug treatment. He says more countries should take advantage of free information to start their own treatment programs.  


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an award-winning television reporter who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.  She has won an Emmy, many Associated Press awards, and a Clarion for her coverage of Haiti,  national politics, the southern economy, and the 9/11 bombing anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Syrian medical crisis and the Asiana plane crash, and was VOA’s chief reporter from the Boston Marathon bombing.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians
More

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More

Colombian Novelist Garcia Marquez Dies at 87

Author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982
More