President Obama in Mexico for North American SummitPosted: Updated:
We're here (I'm with photographer Hugo Perez) in Guadalajara at the Centro Cultural Cabanas waiting to get into the room where President Obama, Mexico's President Calderon and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper will hold a joint press conference. We're told it's at 11:30 Central but many of the photographers and television camera crews had to arrive between 7-8 a.m. to line up. It's all part of the strict security required for an event like this.
And if anyone needed a reminder, consider Dimas Diaz Ramos, a suspect the federal police presented to the media in Mexico City. According to investigators in Mexico he had been working on a plot to assassinate President Calderon for more than a year.
Federal police arrested the suspect known as "El Seis" yesterday in Culiacan, Sinaloa. He is an the alleged financial manager for the Pacific Cartel (formerly known as the Sinaloa Cartel) .
The high profile arrest comes as President Calderon urges President Obama to speed up aid promised under the Merida initiative. Only a small fraction of the 1.4 Billion in training and equipment has been delivered so far. Among the items Mexico needs: several helicopters that would help the government fight well-armed drug cartels.
Beyond Congress will withhold 15% of the Merida aid until Mexico offers proof the military is not involved in human rights abuses as it mounts a massive operation to combat drug cartels.
Here's what I expect the 3 leaders to discuss during the joint press conference later this morning:
Security: cross border enforcement to combat transnational criminal organizations.
H1N1 preps: coordinated prevention and response as health authorities brace for flu season
Economy: creating jobs, promoting trade and working together to boost the regional economy during the recession
Trucking: The U.S. has failed to comply with NAFTA and allow Mexican trucks beyond the border. President Calderon brought this touchy topic up during dinner last night.
Merida: Mexico wants the U.S. to speed up aid (training/equipment) to respond to the cartel threat. The U.S. has delivered a small fraction of the $1.4 Billion dollars worth aid and none of the helicopters promised. Beyond that, Congress will hold back on 15% of the Merida aid until Mexico proves the military is not involved in human rights abuses.
\I'll have more a little later on the air and online. For now I have to run. The secret service just let us into the room to set up cameras.