Illegal arms, drugs trade in US creating problems for Mexico: Envoy

Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) Mexican Ambassador to India Melba Pria on Thursday said the illegal arms and drugs trade in neighbouring US are causing problems for her country.

“It is a complicated thing. In Mexico you can’t buy a gun but in US, you have a supermarket – you can go to the arms supermarket and buy yourself a gun. It is a problem for us about the amount of guns which are coming from the USA to Mexico,” Pria told IANS on the sidelines of an interactive session organised by the CII.

Asked over the route through which the illegal arms and ammunition are being smuggled, she said: “It is through the (US state of) Texas-Mexico City route”.

However, she did not give any further details.

“We are very happy to be in the neighbourhood we are in but we also live near to the biggest drug consumer in the world – the US. There are problems because of the wonderful area of the world we live in – the Caribbean was the traditional sea route for drugs,” she said.

Pria said Mexico was engulfed in the narcotics turmoil when the “sea door” in the Caribbean waters were sealed by the then US president George W. Bush to curb drugs smuggling into his country.

“But what happened? The consumption (of drugs) didn’t stop, the need for drugs didn’t stop – what was changed was the route. 20 years ago did you ever hear about shootings in Mexico? We never had a problem,” she said, noting the shutdown of the sea route prompted the illegal drugs dealers to use land routes passing through central America (including Mexico) to ship narcotics to US, leading to problems in her country.

“There are problems but these have got to do with our neighborhood and with the incredible amount of money that illicit trade is worth,” she said.

Asked if it is creating any problem for Mexico in its business dealings with other countries, the envoy said: “When we discuss free trade, we discuss free trade and not image. When we discuss business, we talk business and when we talk problems we discuss problems – we don’t mix between the two.”

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