News / Americas

US Drug Czar Kerlikowske Supports Mexican Authorities

US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske
US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske

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 Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Legal school segregation ended in the US 60 years ago, but research project finds it still occurs based on income and race
More

Cuban Tourism Industry Stalls in 2013; Up 3.9 Percent Through June

Statistics seen as latest indication of general slowdown in country's economy
More

US Senate Advances Bill to Address Border Crisis

Legislation would authorize funds to house, process tens of thousands of undocumented Central American minors arriving at southern border, but faces many hurdles
More

Urbanization Can Bring Health Risks

Researchers warn of increase in heart disease, diabetes
More

US Restricts Travel by Venezuelan Government Officials

Restriction to apply to officials the State Department links to human rights abuses in government crackdown on protest and dissent
More

US Sanctions Venezuelan Officials for Rights Violations

State Department official would not publicly identify individuals because of visa record confidentiality
More