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Hillary Clinton Mexico visit: US and Mexico shift drug war approach

During the high-level Hillary Clinton Mexico visit Tuesday, the Secretary of State endorsed a new drug war strategy, which includes a more targeted focus on community-building.

By Staff writer / March 24, 2010

Mexico visit: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke during a press conference in Mexico City, Tuesday.

Alexandre Meneghini/AP

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Mexico City

The promise of broader drug-war support from the US as Mexico battles deadly drug traffickers was welcome in Mexico among those who support their president’s tough stance against organized crime but worry that his military strategy alone is not working.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a high-level meeting in Mexico Tuesday, spoke of a new strategy under the Merida Initiative, the $1.4 billion aid package to help Mexico and Central America fight the scourge of organized crime, which includes a more targeted focus on community-building.

“They are realizing that, to fight this drug problem, it is not something you can leave to the military [alone],” says Analicia Ruiz, a professor of international relations at Anahuac University in Mexico City. “They are now looking at it from a broad perspective … it is much more than just a problem with security; it’s a problem within society.”

IN PICTURES: Mexico's drug war

Mrs. Clinton, who was in Mexico with, among others, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid out plans that span beyond access to military hardware.

Four-pronged strategy

The four-pronged strategy includes disrupting the criminal organizations, strengthening institutions, building a border that is safe but productive, and boosting communities so they can resist the power of drug traffickers.

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