NPT DC: U.S. Sen. Kerry to have Drug War hearings in El Paso
News release from the office of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes:
CHAIRMAN SILVESTRE REYES TO JOIN CHAIRMAN JOHN KERRY IN EL PASO
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations To Hold Field Hearing on Mexico’s Drug-Related Violence at UTEP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, will join Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a field hearing on Mexico’s drug-related violence. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled, “U.S.-Mexico Border Violence,” will take place this Monday, March 30, at 8:00 a.m. at the Thomas Rivera Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.
“I commend Senator Kerry for convening this critical hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in El Paso,” Congressman Reyes said. “While I am pleased that Congress has held hearings on Mexico’s drug-related violence in Washington, D.C., it is imperative that our top congressional leaders get a first-hand account of the situation on the ground.”
As Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Kerry, is a key player in U.S. foreign policy, including the Merida Initiative, a $1.4 billion plan to help Mexico combat drug-related violence. The Committee will hear testimony from several witness including: Jaime Esparza, District Attorney, 34th Judicial District of Texas; Arthur Doty, Director of the El Paso Intelligence Center; Ricardo Garica Carriles, former Juárez Director of Public Safety; and Dr. Howard Campbell, UTEP Professor of Anthropology and Sociology.
“We will explore ways in which cooperation between the United States and Mexico can be expanded and strengthened to combat the drug-related violence plaguing the border,” said Senator John F. Kerry, Chairman of the Committee. “President Calderon has bravely taken on these lawless cartels at great cost to his government and the Mexican people. We have a responsibility on our side of the border to find ways to work more closely with our Mexican counterparts to stem the flow of weapons from the United States and to try to curb America’s addiction to drugs.”
The field hearing will be open to the public.
“This hearing provides El Pasoans a unique opportunity to watch their government in action on an issue that has a direct impact on the community,” Reyes added.
The issue of drug-related violence in Mexico’s northern border is drawing the attention of the United States Congress and the White House. In the coming weeks, several top officials from the U.S. are planning to meet with Mexican officials to ensure both countries are coordinating their resources effectively to respond to the violence. Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she is sending Congressman Silvestre Reyes to lead a Congressional Delegation to meet with President Felipe Calderon. Congressman Reyes will be joined by Congressman Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Attorney General Eric Holder will also travel to Mexico. The White House recently announced that President Barack Obama will travel to Mexico on April 16 and 17.
“The University of Texas at El Paso is honored to host the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “The issues to be addressed in the Committee’s hearing are of the utmost importance to all El Paso and Juárez residents, whose daily lives are impacted by growing concerns about the safety and security of the U.S.-Mexico border. As a major contributor to this region’s human and economic development, UTEP is very pleased to have this opportunity to welcome to our campus this distinguished group of national leaders whose firsthand acquaintance with our region will serve to inform their deliberations, and, ultimately, help shape this region’s future.”