“We understand that the root cause of violence that’s been happening here in Mexico for which so many Mexicans have suffered is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States,” Obama said in Mexico City, according to a transcript of his speech posted by the Wall Street Journal.
He added: “Now, I do not believe that legalizing drugs is the answer; instead, I believe in a comprehensive approach—not just law enforcement, but education, prevention and treatment. And we’re going to keep at it—because the lives of our children and the future of our nations depend on it.”
The president said that the U.S. and Mexico need to “work together” to curb drug smuggling and violence.
Obama also added that the U.S. recognizes “that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will.”
Elaborating further, Obama said that he will pass reforms to keep guns out of criminals’ hands for the benefit of both the U.S. and Mexico.
Obama is on a three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica to boost economic ties. He will meet with other Central American leaders on Friday, Reuters reported.
He said that the U.S. needs to join forces with Mexico to compete with job markets in Asia.
“Let’s do more to expand the trade and commerce that creates good jobs for our people,” he said.