Organized Crime in Mexico Jeopardizes Prosperity of North America, Mexico’s President Says

By Edwin Mora | March 4, 2011 | 3:32 PM EST

A man is reflected in a bullet riddled window of a gym in Tijuana, Mexico, Monday Feb. 28, 2011. According to police at the scene, a man was shot to death by unknown gunmen inside the gym while he was working out. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

Washington ( - Mexican President Felipe Calderon, during his visit to Washington, D.C., this week, said that organized crime in Mexico threatens the “future prosperity” of the entire North American region.

“Now more than ever we cannot ignore the fact that organized crime is a trans-national problem,” he said on Thursday at a forum sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. “It has its origins on both sides of the border. It’s a clear and present danger to all our citizens.

“It’s clear to me that the solution must come from both sides of the border,” he said. “We have found renewed cooperation to face this problem in the Obama administration, but there’s no doubt that more must be done and very soon.”

“Make no mistake, the future prosperity of Mexico, the U.S., and the North American region is at stake,” he added. “Mexico is fully committed to doing our part.”

The Mexican leader said that the United States must do more to curtail its demand for drugs, dismantle the financial operations of criminal groups, and put a stop to the “uncontrolled sale of assault weapons to criminals,” which, Calderon said, are being used against citizens and law enforcement from both Mexico and the United States.

Calderon highlighted the death of Jaime Zapata, a U.S. special agent who was allegedly killed in Mexico by members of a drug cartel, as an example of the mortal toll that is part of fighting organized crime. 

“As we anticipated, the fight against organized crime takes time. It costs money, and suddenly human life as well, such as the case with Special Agent Jaime Zapata who died recently [in Mexico] at the hands of merciless gunmen while helping to make North America a safer place,” said Calderon. 

He pointed out that many members of the Mexican military and police force have also lost their lives to combating organized crime and keeping drugs out of Mexico and the United States.

The public forum that was sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars followed Calderon’s visit with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.