- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2007

Threat in Mexico

The U.S. ambassador in Mexico promised to use all of the U.S. Embassy’s power to protect American journalists in the face of death threats from violent drug gangs operating in Mexican border towns.

Ambassador Antonio O. Garza Jr. denounced the threats after reports appeared Friday that drug smugglers plan to kill any foreign journalist who writes about the violence in towns like Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas.

“I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure the safety of all Americans who visit or reside in Mexico,” Mr. Garza said in a statement posted on the embassy’s Web site (mexico.usembassy.gov).

“Threats against journalists in an attempt to intimidate them from reporting the truth must be condemned by all of us who understand the important role of a free press in a democratic society.”

Drug gangs have attacked Mexican reporters for writing about the drug wars. A video crew from TV Azteca disappeared in Monterrey in May, and the Acapulco correspondent for the Televisa network was killed in April.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

President Lech Kaczynski of Poland, who meets with President Bush.

Efraim Eitam, a member of the Israeli parliament from the National Union-National Religious Party, who meets with Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Tomorrow

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who meets with President Bush.

Raisa Bogatyrova — a member of Ukraine’s parliament, chief of the Regions Party and coordinator of the Parliamentary-Governmental Coalition — who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

A delegation from the European Parliament caucus of the European People’s Party and European Democrats composed of: Chairman Joseph Daul of France; Vice Chairmen Vito Bonsignore of Italy, Othmar Karas of Austria, Marian-Jean Marinescu of Romania; Jaime Mayor Oreja of Spain and Jozsef Szajer of Hungary; Jacek Saryusz-Wolski of Poland, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Elmar Brok of Germany, deputy chairman of the Transatlantic Policy Network; James Elles of Britain, chairman of the European Ideas Network; and Jonathan Evans of Britain. On their three-day visit, they meet with: Republicans Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, chairman of the Republican Party Conference, Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, House minority leader, and Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, minority whip; Democrats Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs European subcommittee, and Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; and Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte.

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