The Diane Rehm Show

President Obama in Mexico

Vanda Felbab-Brown joined Diane Rehm to discuss President Obama's meeting in Guadalajara with leaders of Canada and Mexico on issues of mutual concern including escalating drug violence in Mexico, immigration and the economy.

Diane Rehm: Vanda Felbab-Brown, even as we mention the war on drugs in Mexico, the New York Times is reporting this morning that a Mexico lawyer who represented drug traffickers, but who had also spoken out strongly against the government accusing politicians and prosecutors of allowing criminals to operate – she was assassinated yesterday. What can you tell us about that?

Vanda Felbab-Brown : Hello Diane. I don't know that I can tell you any more specific details about the killin,g other than to emphasize this is yet another demonstration of the extraordinary toll the war on drugs is exacting in Mexico.

And indeed, the approach that President Calderon has undertaken – while brave – has so far failed to reduce the violence. It is becoming questionable how long the current strategy will be sustained without some major improvements, at least in some areas that his administration identified as priority areas, such as the city of Juarez where unfortunately violence in May, June and July has again spiked to peak levels.

This is of course taking place in the context of a real questioning of the Mexican public of more and more human rights allegations against the military. So clearly, the Mexican government – with our help and also with the help of Mexico and jointly – will need to think how to adjust the strategy to reduce violence while being continually effective against the cartels.

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