Helping Mexico

Latin America and the Caribbean

Amid skyrocketing rates of drug-related violence in Mexico, President Felipe Calderón said the following on Monday, while meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

If the Mexican Army, the Federal Police, and local police are working and risking their lives for this fight [against narcotrafficking], in the name of the hundreds of Mexican police who have died, it is fundamental that the United States assume, through deeds, its part of the responsibility for this fight."

Part of the U.S. responsibility would be helping to stop the flow of U.S. guns into Mexico. However, yesterday's Wall Street Journal presented some chilling statistics showing how great the problem of U.S. arms smuggling is and how little has been done.

The fighting is being waged with thousands of American-purchased or stolen weapons flowing south illegally each year, U.S. officials say.

The State Department recently estimated U.S.-originated guns were used in 95% of Mexico's drug-related killings. The number of such murders more than doubled to almost 6,000 last year, up from about 2,700 in 2007.

Meanwhile, U.S. authorities seized only 257 weapons heading south at border checkpoints in 2008 -- and a total of just 733 dating back to the start of 2005, according to data Homeland Security officials provided to The Wall Street Journal.