In perhaps a final affront to the United States on Friday, Mexican President Felipe Calderon unveiled a billboard with the words, “No more weapons,” facing north of the border in Ciudad Juarez, one of the world’s most violent cities ravaged by drug crime.
Calderon’s tenure has seen a heavy-handed war on the country’s drug cartels lead to some 50,000 deaths since it began in December 2006. He has blamed Washington’s stance a number of times and the latest move is his most ostentatious yet.
Read more: Mexico's drug-war dead: 12,000 in 2011
“You are also responsible,” Calderon said curtly when an attack on a Monterrey casino left 52 dead six months ago.
During the ceremony in Juarez, Calderon spoke in English: "Dear friends of the United States, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we're suffering. The best way to do this is to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico.”
The lettering was made of weapons seized by Mexican authorities.
The drug war has been a major source of antagonism between Washington and Mexico City. Former US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual was forced to resign in March, as WikiLeaks revealed diplomats’ disparaging thoughts on Mexican authorities’ methods in dealing with the drug cartels.
A sign — facing Americans — on the same border at El Paso, Texas, reads: "Entry of firearms into Mexico prohibited." It is seen as the great irony to the drug war where perhaps 70 percent of confiscated weapons can be linked to the US.
Calderon’s presidency will end later this year and his National Action Party (PAN) is looking very unlikely to win, thanks in major part to the failed war on drugs. The Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico for 70 years prior to 2000 and looks set to return during July’s election.