In what has been a lightly reported story this past week – but one for which it is impossible to overstate the importance of – President Felipe Calderon terminated 1000 customs officials (700 in some reports) from their positions as inspectors at ports of entry throughout the country. Compared to their American counterparts, manning the ports of entry along our shared border, Mexican customs officials are not as well trained and are allegedly more vulnerable to incidents of bribery and corruption. The terminated officers were replaced with better-trained officials and temporary military personnel in an effort to both provide better security and boost tax revenue (unlike the United States, Mexico receives a significant portion of their national tax revenue from customs duties).
This is another indication of the dedicated and serious manner in which President Calderon has continued to wage war with the drug cartels that exploit the border for their own illegitimate purposes. Also, it is another indication of the support we must give President Calderon through the Merida Initiative and our own efforts to combat southbound weapons and cash shipments.