United States Ambassador Ken Salazar has emphasized once again that security is a prerequisite for prosperity.
“Without security, there can be no prosperity, and investment wanes. Investing in security and justice fosters investments and creates jobs,” he wrote on Twitter during a visit to Zacatecas on Saturday.
In the same post, Salazar acknowledged that the northern state was recently added to the United States Department of State’s “do not travel” list due to increased crime.
On Saturday, Salazar met with Zacatecas Governor David Monreal and other officials in the state capital. “We reaffirmed our commitment to our shared security goals here with Governor @DavidMonrealA,” he said in another Twitter post.
“Zacatecas is a priority state under the binational Bicentennial Framework. We are supporting corrections facilities, forensics labs, and rule of law programs in the state, with respect for Mexico’s sovereignty, to help reduce violence and foster prosperity.”
The ambassador shared a virtual flyer that said that the United States in Zacatecas has “supported reaccreditation for three prisons, with a fourth in process” and that it has “assisted with accreditation for six forensic laboratories under international standards.”
The flyer also said that the United States has “supported international accreditation for police academy and police” and “delivered driving simulator and emergency response trainings.”
In addition, the U.S. has “supported certification for 21 state prosecutors to standardize performance” and “completed diagnostics to make recommendations for attorney general procedures.”
Salazar told a press conference that Zacatecas – currently Mexico’s most violent state in terms of homicides per capita – is a “jewel of the world that everyone wants … to visit.”
The safer it is, the more people will come to visit “this great state,” he said. “… When there is insecurity, investment cools off,” Salazar said, repeating an assertion he made last month after outbreaks of cartel-related violence in Jalisco, Guanajuato, Chihuahua and Baja California.
The ambassador conceded that the United States is partly responsible for the high levels of violence in Mexico due to its citizens’ consumption of illicit drugs and the smuggling of weapons into the country from the U.S.
His admission came after Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard insinuated last Tuesday that the U.S. hasn’t done enough to help reduce violence in Mexico because large numbers of firearms continue to flow southward. It also followed Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez’s portrayal of Mexico as an innocent victim of drug-related violence during an address at a United Nations event in New York on Thursday.
Salazar also said that the United States would provide additional monetary resources to help Mexico fight criminal organizations in Zacatecas, where the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel are involved in a turf war.
“[We’re already providing] more than US $15 million for training, equipment [and] other things … here in Zacatecas [but] we want to do more and we want to do it with respect for the sovereignty of the Mexican state, of Zacatecas and respect for the federal government, there will be no surprises here about what we’re doing,” he said.
On Sunday, the ambassador was in the neighboring state of Durango, where he met with Governor José Rosas Aispuro.
“Security cooperation can unleash the huge economic potential of the state of Durango under the USMCA and help it capitalize on nearshoring opportunities to increase jobs in Durango,” Salazar wrote on Twitter, referring to the free trade pact between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
With reports from Milenio