Tucson is just over an hour's drive from the U.S./Mexico border. Arizona and Sonora, Mexico share a 361 miles stretch of a desolate border with the exception of a few small towns and the city of Nogales.
Although, for the most part, the horrific drug cartel violence in Mexico has stayed south of the border, it has, on occasion spilled over with deadly consequences.
It's a savage struggle between rival drug cartels throughout Mexico as they fight and kill over the lucrative drug routes leading into the United States. Over the last six years, under the rule of President Felipe Calderon and his war against the drug gangs, tens of thousands of people have died in the violence.
The fate of thousands of more remain a mystery, as kidnappings run rampant. A recent video surfaced showing a drug cartel kidnapping a rival gang member in broad daylight from in front of a convenience store.
Many wonder what life will be like in the next six years. On Saturday, newly elected President Enrique Pena Nieto was sworn into office. In his inauguration speech, Pena Nieto pledged to erase the deficit and reduce crime while protestors clashed with police outside the National Congress in Mexico City.
President Pena Nieto said that he will create a national crime prevention program after more than 58,000 people were killed in drug warfare since 2006 under his predecessor. As Pena Nieto settles in, Americans and Mexicans on both sides of the border are wondering and waiting to see what kind of relationship he'll form with newly re-elected President Barack Obama.
The two met days before Pena Nieto's inaugural ceremony at the White House where they talked about a number of issues, including the economy and border security, "I know that President Peña Nieto has a very ambitious reform agenda," President Obama said, "and we are very much looking forward to having a fruitful discussion here today about not only how we can strengthen our economic ties, our trades ties, our coordination along the border, improving our joint competitiveness, as well as common security issues."
President Obama went on to say, "and just as President-elect Peña Nieto's reform agenda is of great interest to us because what happens in Mexico has an impact on our society, I know he's interested in what we do as well on issues like comprehensive immigration reform."
President Nieto said in terms of security, it a major challenge both countries face, "my government has set out to reduce the violence situation in our country. And for that, of course, we have set out to launch a strategy for this purpose. And I will do everything we can for this. We want to have -- we have the will to have cooperation, efficient cooperation with respect, respect for our sovereign states. And of course in terms of the border, we want our border to be a safe, modern, connected border, legal border -- that's exactly what we've set out to accomplish."
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