This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
than six thousand people died last year in Mexico's drug wars. So far this year
the violence has only gotten worse. More than one thousand people have already been
Police have become common targets, especially in border cities in
are competing for control of drug trafficking into the United States. The
American State Department has warned travelers about border areas. But there is
some evidence that the violence is spreading to other parts of Mexico.
month, gunmen kidnapped a retired army general in Cancun, a beach city popular
with American college students on spring break. Mauro Tello Quinones was
tortured and killed just days after he arrived in the city to fight corruption
in the local police.
Mexican organized crime groups
not only sell in the United States. Those cartels also use some of the money to
buy high-powered weapons in the United States and bring them back into Mexico.
Mexico is receiving money for
training, equipment and other anti-drug activities under an agreement signed
last year with the United States. President Felipe Calderon has deployed
thousands of troops for anti-drug efforts since he took office in two thousand
States officials say the growing violence shows progress by the Mexican
government in fighting the drug trade. Its efforts, they say, have led cartels to
battle each other for decreasing profits.
growing that the violence will spread into the United States. The situation
along the southern border is being called a national security threat.
Congress held hearings this week.
Lawmakers urged the Obama administration to increase efforts to help Mexico
crush the drug cartels.
Loretta Sanchez from California noted that Mexico has now deployed forty-five
thousand troops -- around the same number as the United States has in
LORETTA SANCHEZ: "The United
States and this Congress cannot ignore our role in assisting our neighbor and
our ally in this fight, and of course in preventing that violence from slipping
into the United States."
President Obama said this week that he
is not interested in "militarizing" the three thousand kilometer long
border. He went on to say, though, that he has not decided yet about requests
from border states to deploy additional National Guard troops.
says the cartels have gained "extraordinary power." He expects to
have what he called a comprehensive policy in place in the next few months.
American officials recently
announced results from an operation aimed at Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, which
also sends drugs to Canada. They announced hundreds of arrests in the United
States and the seizure of twenty-three tons of drugs.
And, this week, President Obama nominated
the police chief from Seattle as the new director for the Office of National
Drug Control Policy. Gil Kerlikowske says reducing demand for drugs will depend
not just on arrests but also on treatment for users.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve