Immigration, drug cartels, and dealing with Cuba were all a part of the discussion between U.S. president Barack Obama and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto today, while across the United States, demonstrations against the meeting were held in at least 14 states. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from The White House.
President Obama meets with Mexican President despite protestsImmigration, drug cartels, and dealing with Cuba were all a part of the discussion between U.S. president Barack Obama and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto today, while across the United States, demonstrations against the meeting were held in at least 14 states. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reported this story from The White House.
Nieto’s visit comes as criticism mounts over his handling of the kidnapping and deaths of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico.
“They left alive and we want to see them back alive,” Los Angeles resident Tighe Barry said. “So the people here are protesting. They want an end to this war on drugs.”
Several dozen protesters braved the Washington D.C. snow to bring their message of disappointment to the White House.
“The corruption, it’s in all the levels,” Edith Ramirez, a U.S. immigrant from Mexico said. “So if he gives money to our country, he gives money to people actually involved with the narco trafficking.”
Ahead of the visit, nonprofit Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Obama asking him to withhold security funding if “Mexico is unable to show significant results in prosecuting human rights crimes.”
Peña Nieto was notably silent on the matter, leaving it to U.S. President Obama to address the issue.
“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and the drug cartels that are responsible for so much tragedy inside of Mexico,” Obama said.
On other issues, the White House said Mexico agreed to help spread a message to Central Americans who want to emigrate to the U.S. Both countries are working with Central American governments to stem the tide. The U.S. is also advising Mexico on tightening its southern border, where 90,000 migrants came in last summer.
Mexican consulates are also staying open longer to help its citizens understand Obama’s recent executive order that eases deportations for millions of undocumented workers already in the U.S. President Pena Nieto called it “an act of justice.”
“And among the population that will surely be benefited through your executive action, sir, there’s a very big majority of Mexican citizens,” Nieto said.
There has also been a move by the leaders of both countries to double the funding to the North American Development bank that finances infrastructure projects to improve environmental conditions on the border to $6 billion dollars over the next five years.
Peña Nieto also said he would like to partner with the U.S. on the normalized relations between the US and Cuba.
Senior Obama administration officials have said that the President wants Mexico’s help in pressuring Cuba to adopt reforms. The first step may be this spring, when both leaders will be attending the Summit of the Americas alongside Cuba. Obama said Tuesday that he wants democracy and human rights to be on the agenda.
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