This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
week, President Obama made his first official visit to Latin America. He
arrived Thursday in Mexico City and met with President Felipe Calderon. They
discussed the drug war in Mexico, illegal immigration and the world recession.
They also announced plans to cooperate in efforts to fight climate change and
develop clean forms of energy.
Drug-related violence in Mexico has
killed more than seven thousand people since the beginning of last year --
often with guns bought in the United States. The violence is now spreading over
the border to American communities. This comes as American officials say
Mexican organized crime groups are supplying drugs in a growing number of
cities across the United States.
Obama says the United States must reduce its demand for drugs and do its part
to reduce the flow of guns and money to Mexico. Earlier this week, he used a
law called the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act to target three
Mexican drug organizations. The action will let the Treasury Department block
or seize any of their money within reach of United States laws.
Also this week, the Obama
administration named a former Justice Department official as so-called border
czar. Alan Bersin will supervise efforts to secure the border with Mexico and
to slow illegal immigration. He also had that job under Bill Clinton.
President Obama made a campaign promise
to begin efforts for immigration reform in his first year in office. He has
already met with Hispanic members of Congress and promised to work with them to
try to shape a plan.
new report says Mexicans now represent one-third of all immigrants in the
United States -- by far the largest nationality group. The Pew Hispanic Center says
more than half of Mexican immigrants are undocumented. They represent about
sixty percent of the estimated twelve million illegal immigrants in the United
From Mexico, President Obama traveled
Friday to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago for the Fifth Summit of
the Americas. The meetings bring together leaders of thirty-four countries. The
only country not invited was Cuba. But earlier this week, President Obama lifted
some restrictions on Cuba.
actions do not end the nearly fifty year old trade embargo against the island.
But Americans with family in Cuba will now be more free to visit and send money
to family members. Critics say the money will only help Cuba's communist leaders.
of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Cuba's reaction. President Raul Castro said Cuba
is willing to discuss "everything" with the United States, including
human rights, press freedoms and political prisoners. But he also said Cuba
must be treated as an equal.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve