Pubdate: Sat, 14 Apr 2001
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2001, Ventura County Star


Partners: Allowing U.S. To Help Root Out Corruption Seen As A Bold
Move By President Fox

Mexican President Vicente Fox is willing to have U.S. agents investigate 
whether Mexican police and intelligence officers are involved in drugs, a 
major concession by a proud nation scarcely eager to parade its official 
corruption and a major step toward a closer relationship with a U.S. 
government that ought to find ways to reciprocate.

The undeniable truth is that some of Mexico's top cops have also been drug 
smugglers, which has made it extraordinarily difficult to curtail the 
shipment of illegal drugs to American dealers.

The corruption is a devastating problem for Mexico, and its leaders have 
frequently pointed accusatory fingers at the great demand for drugs by 
residents of the northern neighbor.

Allowing U.S. intelligence officials to do their own probes of Mexican 
officials has not been advocated by Mexican leaders, however, because it 
could be embarrassing and seem like an encroachment on sovereignty.

But according to The Washington Post, Mr. Fox wants to work out an 
understanding with the U.S. Justice Department about joint security checks.

It is a bold move from a man who made history last summer by defeating the 
candidate of the party that has ruled Mexico for more than 70 years.

Perhaps the move is at least a partial consequence of efforts by President 
Bush to further recognize the importance of Mexico to the United States; 
his first foreign visit as president was a trip there.

The importance of such an agreement goes beyond the question of drug 
smuggling, for Mexico is important to this country for many reasons: the 
thousands of workers who cross over every year; air pollution that knows no 
borders; the possibilities of mutually advantageous arrangements concerning 
water and energy resources, and, of course, the large amount of trade 
between the countries.

Closer cooperation between Mexico and the United States could be 
economically advantageous to both lands, and could help address various 
social problems as well.

What is necessary now is for the United States to look to itself to see 
what we can do. In the Post account, Mexico's national security adviser 
makes some suggestions such as the United States' taking additional steps 
to stop the smuggling of guns into Mexico.

The big thing the United States must do, though, is to treat Mexico as a 
partner we respect in all our policies.
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