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Calderon pleads with US: No more weapons

February 24, 2012

Urging U.S. authorities to step up their efforts against gun trafficking, President Felipe Calderon unveiled a giant billboard that read “No More Weapons!” during a visit to Ciudad Juarez last week.

The three-ton billboard is written in English and can be seen from across the border in El Paso, Texas. Its letters are made from weapons seized by Mexican authorities.

“We need your help to stop this violence. We need you to reduce your consumption of drugs and to dramatically reduce the flow of money to criminal organizations in Mexico,” Calderon declared, looking across the border. “But beyond the topic of drugs, the best way that you, the American people, can help reduce the violence in Mexico is through legislation that has already been in force in the United States, blocking the inhumane weapons trafficking into our country.”

Ciudad Juarez has become Mexico’s murder capital in recent years and Calderon said the increase in violence across Mexico was directly connected with the expiration of the U.S. assault weapons ban in 2004. Calderon has asked U.S. legislators to renew the ban on assault weapons on several occasions, most notably in a 2010 speech before the U.S. Congress.

Speaking in Juarez, Calderon also noted that the city’s murder rate had fallen by 45 percent from 2010 to 2011. He said figures for the first six weeks of 2012 were even more promising, suggesting a 57 percent drop in homicides compared to the same period last year.

Calderon claimed the “We’re all Juarez” investment program his government launched two years ago had played a major role in improving security, but analysts suggest the reduction in violence could mean the Sinaloa Cartel has succeeded in usurping its Juarez Cartel rivals from the city.

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