Former mayor of Medellín, Sergio Fajardo, and Shannon O’Neil of the Council on Foreign Relations explore policy responses to Mexico’s security crisis at the U.S.–Mexico Futures Forum.
There is no issue higher on the U.S.–Mexico agenda at present than security. The death toll from Mexico’s drug war hit some 34,500 by late 2010 and continues to climb at an alarming rate. The issue is dominating the Mexican political scene, with a massive citizen mobilization calling for a shift in President Calderón’s “war on narco” policies. In fact, concerns about safety now top the economy as the issue most important to voters. The seemingly unstoppable wave of violence is affecting U.S.–Mexico relations just as powerfully, simultaneously fostering cooperation among diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies and exacerbating long-standing fears, suspicions, and complaints on both sides of the border. The participants in the U.S.–Mexico Futures Forum knew all too well that there would be no easy solutions when the security session began; instead, a tough-minded and sincere debate ensued, that brought out both the immense challenges and the need for flexible, creative, and cooperative approaches.