The violence in Mexico is getting out of hand, and American guns are fueling the bloodshed. According to a report released Monday by three U.S. senators, at least 70 percent of the guns recovered by Mexican authorities in 2009 and 2010 can be traced back to the United States. The report, "Halting U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico" by Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer and Sheldon Whitehouse, takes a strong position on Congress's inaction in quelling the flow of American assault rifles. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has made repeated requests for stricter gun laws to prevent continued bloodshed.
The morgues are overflowing in San Fernando, which along a road locals call "the highway of death." Many bus companies have cancelled that route between the Tamaulipas state capital Ciudad Victoria and Brownsville, Texas, and few journalists dare venture into the area without military escorts.
Calderon blames the United States, at least for the guns. Though the proportionate amount of weapons coming out of the U.S. has dropped to 70 percent from the 85 percent reported in 2009, it's tough to argue against the Mexican president Along those lines, the American ban on assault rifles lifted in 2004 contributed to the spike in bloodshed. "You can clearly see how the violence began to grow in 2005, and of course it has gone on an upward spiral in the last six years," Calderon said in a speech to Mexican-Americans in San Jose, California on Saturday. The drug wars are also costing Calderon tremendous political capital in Mexico, where protestors, like the one pictured above, march almost daily against his inability to control the situation.
This week's Senate report recommends stricter laws around assault rifles, especially military-style weapons imported from Eastern Europe, and points to gun shows as a source of these types of weapons. The point is not lost on President Calderon. "I accuse the U.S. weapons industry of (responsibility for) the deaths of thousands of people that are occurring in Mexico," Calderon said Saturday. "It is for profit, for the profits that it makes for the weapons industry."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.