He’s the second Clinton in six years to apologize to Mexico for its drug-trafficking problems.
Last week, former President Bill Clinton said in a speech at a summit in Mexico that the United States was in great part to blame for that country’s drug violence.
“I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault,” Clinton said at the Laureate Summit on Youth and Productivity. “Basically, we did too good of a job of taking the transportation out of the air and water, and so we ran it over land.”
“I apologize for that,” Clinton said, according to published reports.
A crackdown by the United States on drug trafficking from South and Central America focused intensely on the Caribbean Sea, pushing the smuggling to the Mexican border and its environs, according to the Huffington Post.
The U.S. focus on smuggling via air and water – and on weakening Colombian drug cartels – was underway during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and continued under Clinton. As the Colombian cartels weakened, the Mexican ones – which had been smaller players in the trafficking world – grew more powerful.
In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also apologized to Mexico, saying the United States’ "insatiable" demand for drugs and its role as a source of weapons smuggled into Mexico both had fueled the rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Daniel Robelo, research director at the anti-drug war advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, said Bill Clinton’s expression of regret would have been more helpful while he was in the White House.
"Of course, one wishes he and his counterparts would have done the right thing when they wielded the power to do so," Robelo said, according to the Huffington Post. "But it’s better to apologize than pretend he did nothing wrong at all. Yet we need much more than apologies – especially from those who currently hold office, or who might in the near future."