Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is traveling today to the central Mexican city of Guanajuato for one day of bilateral talks with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. According to a Department of State press release, the main discussion points will cover joint efforts in the areas of organized crime, economic collaboration, border security, and climate change reform post-COP 16 in Cancún. Following her discussions with Minister Espinosa, Secretary Clinton will meet President Felipe Calderón in Mexico City.
The timing of Secretary Clinton’s visit is critical as Mexico continues to suffer from drug cartel-related violence throughout the country. More than 34,000 people have died in the last four years due to organized crime. President Calderón has mounted an aggressive government effort to stave off narco-violence, despite nearly 16,000 of the 34,000 deaths having occurred in 2010 alone.
In light of this, the Colombian army has begun training Mexican police officers to contain drug gangs. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos notes that: “Mexico has what we had some years ago, which are very powerful cartels. What we can provide is the experience that we have had dismantling those cartels, training intelligence officers, [and] training judicial police.”
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, arrived in Mexico City yesterday on an official three-day visit, expressing high expectations for the UN Climate Change Conference to take place in December in Cancun. Ms. Wahlström said that failures in previous negotiations can be overcome at the Mexico summit and urged Mexico to take a leading role in bridging the gap between developing countries and the developed world: “In Cancun, we will need to focus on the positive steps that have been taken, more than on the divide between rich and poor countries.”
Wahlström, who also encouraged the inclusion of natural disasters in the climate change discussions, noted that 75 percent of climate and seismic-related disasters affect developing countries and that changes in attitudes and norms worldwide, by both governments and individuals, will be necessary to overcome such disasters in the future.
The visit will include meetings with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa and numerous officials from the government of Mexico City, and representatives from civil society organizations.