President-elect Barack Obama met with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon yesterday and Mr. Obama says he will visit Canada on his first international trip after the inauguration.
Obama praised Calderon for his work on energy and climate change yesterday.
But this ignores the elephant in the room and on the contintent.
Mexico and the U.S. are watching as millions of illegal immigrants move from Mexico northward and while drug lords kill off law enforcement and law abiding political leaders, citizens and politicians in Mexico.
Most news stories of the Calderon-Obama meeting failed to mention either issue until somewhere around paragraph eight….
By Jeff Mason and Caren Bohan
Barack Obama, who takes over as U.S. President on January 20, told Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday he would work to strengthen U.S. ties with Mexico, especially in the field of energy.
Obama has promised to nurture close ties with the U.S. southern neighbor and other Latin American countries, which complained of neglect by the United States after President George W. Bush’s foreign policy focused heavily on Iraq.
President-elect Barack Obama listens as Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon speaks at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, January 12, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)
“My message today is that my administration is going to be ready on Day One to work to build a stronger relationship with Mexico,” Obama said after visiting with Calderon over a lunch of tortilla soup and other Mexican dishes.
It was Obama’s first meeting with a foreign leader since his November election.
“The friendship between the United States and Mexico has been strong. I believe it can be even stronger and that’s going to be the commitment of my administration,” the president-elect told reporters.
“This will be the beginning of an extraordinary age in the relationship between the United States and Mexico,” Calderon said.
Calderon said both governments needed to combine forces to fight organized crime. “The more secure Mexico is, the more secure (the) U.S. will be,” he said.
With Mexico’s drug violence exploding and amid fears that Obama might seek changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Calderon had been eager for a meeting with the incoming U.S. president.
OBAMA PRAISED CALDERON
Obama praised Calderon for his work on energy and climate change, saying the two countries should expand their efforts in those areas, while building on existing commercial, security and cultural ties.
“The prospects of us working together on energy strategies across borders is going to be critically important,” he said. Obama said the two also discussed immigration, border security, and the global financial crisis.
Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States, is suffering a spillover from the U.S. economy’s woes, as layoffs at Mexican factories mount and families with relatives in the United States see a decline in remittances.
Obama aides said the Calderon meeting was part of a long tradition of U.S. presidents meeting with the Mexican leader before their inauguration.