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President Barack Obama, speaking in Mexico City on Friday, said the United States is responsible for much of the crime and violence in Mexico because of the demand for drugs and the illegal smuggling of guns across the southern border.

He told the crowd, “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.” He later added, “We also recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States.”

Obama acknowledged the illegal smuggling of guns into Mexico by American criminals, but did not mention the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious that allowed the flow of about 2,000 U.S. guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Fast and Furious began in the fall of 2009 and was halted in December 2010 after two of the weapons from the DOJ gun walking program were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

“In the United States, we understand our responsibilities. 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. “So we’ve got to continue to make progress on that front.”

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