Today I was very comforted by the red carpet treatment our President Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala, received from President Obama and Michelle Obama.
This state visit includes public and closed door meetings between the two leaders and a state dinner tonight.
The opening remarks were in Spanish and English with President Obama making several remarks in Spanish and quoting the Mexican writer, Octavio Paz, and commenting that Mexico was the US’s friend and partner and that the US ad Mexico are not simply neighbors bound by geography and history but are, by choice, friends and partners.
President Obama also noted the importance of this year in the history of the Americas: Mexico declared it’s independence 200 years ago and 2010 is the centennial of the Mexican Revolution.
Filipe Calderon was the first leader Obama met in 2008 after his election and the thanked the Mexican people for their hospitality to him on that, and subsequent visits, and to Michelle on her first solo visit as First Lady.
Obviously, there are many things on the agenda to discuss but perhaps the most pressing is the shared desire to win the war against the powerful drug cartels, a promise on which President Calderon campaigned.
There have been thousands of drug related deaths in Mexico and the US but according to President Calderon numbers are dropping. President Calderon may not have the huge support he once had but has 2 years left in his term as President to make good on this promise.
There is no one country on which to place the blame as Mexico is simply supplying the needs of the US drug users and also the US is supplying guns to Mexico.
Obama called Calderon his Mexican counterpart and they both are resolved in their desire to work together to reduce the violence and bring the heads of the major drug cartels to justice.
The US can be a very strong partner in helping Mexico become a more stable and economically sound .country so that fewer Mexicans will seek a, seemingly, better life north of the border.
Calderon also said the two countries shared a desire to work together regarding global warming, security and trade and, of course, to resolve the immigration problem in a way that does not force the Mexican people to be forced to face discrimination as outlined in the new Arizona Immigration Law.
There was much pomp and ceremony to today’s state visit and President Calderon was welcomed with respect and friendship.
It is very encouraging that our two countries are committed to working together with common goals for a better future for all.
These are not issues that will be easily solved and it is reassuring that in this case, two heads are most definitely better than one.