LIANE HANSEN, Host:
NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from Mexico City.
JASON BEAUBIEN: Many Mexican politicians view the current drug war that's claimed roughly 30,000 lives over the last four years as one more curse foisted on Mexico by their rich neighbor to the north. In this world, the incredibly violent conflict is fueled by U.S. demand for narcotics, fought with U.S. weapons and funded by U.S. cash that flows freely across the border.
(SOUNDBITE OF CONVERSATIONS)
BEAUBIEN: At the chamber of the Mexican Senate, Senator Sebastian Calderon Centeno says the United States hasn't done anything to curb demand for drugs or to diminish the flow of guns into Mexico. He says the drug war is actually increasing weapons trafficking.
SEBASTIAN CALDERON CENTENO: (Foreign language spoken)
BEAUBIEN: The criminals are getting desperate, he says, and are trying to get more and more guns to attack the Mexican government. The senator says that most of the guns in the hands of Mexican drug traffickers are bought legally in Texas, Arizona and California. And he says the U.S. has little incentive to stop the smuggling.
CALDERON CENTENO: (Foreign language spoken)
BEAUBIEN: Just this week, the Mexican Ambassador to Washington, Arturo Sarukhan, again blamed lax American gun laws for fueling the drug conflict in Mexico. He said the U.S. could do more to limit the sale of weapons that eventually end up in the hands of the cartels.
ARTURO SARUKHAN: The Founding Fathers didn't draft the 2nd Amendment to allow international organized crime to A, illicitly buy weapons in gun shops and gun shows; B, illicitly cross them over into international border; and C, sell them to individuals of a country where those calibers or types of weapons are prohibited.
BEAUBIEN: Mexican President Felipe Calderon also continues to call on the U.S. to crack down on weapons heading south. The ambassador says the U.S. needs to be involved in fighting the cartels, along with the Mexican authorities. He says the only way that Mexico has a chance of winning this battle is with sustained efforts from both sides of the border.
SARUKHAN: If we can't fundamentally - within what's in the books today - modify the current flow of weapons and bulk cash which are coming from the United States into Mexico and which provide the drug syndicates with their fire power and their ability to corrupt, it will be a very taxing challenge.
BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Mexico City.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.