Drug gangs are Mexico's worst rights problem: Obama

By :GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that drug cartels are Mex
Date posted :2009-08-10 20:00:00

President Felipe Calderon has come under fire for using the Mexican army to police states plagued by drug violence, as rights groups have reported random arrests, torture and a few cases of civilians being shot.

Concern about abuses by soldiers could hold up millions of dollars in U.S. equipment pledged as aid for Mexico's drug war, but Mexico insists any violations are isolated incidents.

Obama, in Mexico for talks with Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, defended Mexico's army crackdown.

"The biggest by far violators of human rights right now are the cartels themselves that are kidnapping people, extorting people and encouraging corruption. That's what needs to be stopped," Obama told a news conference in the western city of Guadalajara.

"I have great confidence in President Calderon's administration applying the law enforcement techniques that are necessary to curb the power of the cartels but doing so in a way that's consistent with human rights," Obama said.

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