Obama Defends Mexico's Drug War

Cartels are the biggest violators of human rights, president says
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2009 2:28 PM CDT
President Barack Obama, right, gestures as he stands next to Mexico's President Felipe Calderon in Guadalajara, Mexico, Monday Aug. 10, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
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(Newser) – President Obama expressed his support for Mexico’s war on drug cartels after today's North American summit, the New York Times reports. Obama defended Felipe Calderón—who some criticize for not holding the Mexican army accountable for reported human rights abuses against the drug traders—saying that the ruthless traffickers were the biggest violators of human rights.

Washington is debating whether to withhold money to help fight the powerful cartels because of these allegations. Obama also said that the effort to change immigration rules would be shelved until next year, slotting it after health care and energy legislation on his first-term agenda. "It's very important for us to sequence these big initiatives in a way where they don't all just crash at the same time," he said.