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Mexico's Calderón meets Obama to showcase close ties. Is it just a show?

Even as Mexico's Felipe Calderón meets with President Obama at the White House Thursday in a demonstration of close bilateral ties, basic disagreements over the drug war persist.

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Mexico's President Felipe Calderon holds a news conference at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, Thursday Feb. 24.

Alexandre Meneghini/AP

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Mexican President Felipe Calderón meets with President Obama at the White House Thursday amid the same frictions that have irritated the bilateral relationship throughout Mr. Calderón's five-year war on Mexico’s drug cartels.

Despite stepped-up antinarcotics cooperation between the two countries in recent years, the US continues to find Mexico’s efforts against the drug-trafficking organizations uncoordinated and undermined by corruption. Horrendous violence has left more than 35,000 Mexicans dead since 2006.

For its part, Mexico still puts the onus for the burgeoning drug trade and its accompanying violence on the US, saying unbridled (and even legalized) drug consumption north of the border and an unchecked flow of arms southward are at the root of the problem.

For this visit, Calderón is coming armed with a poignant “Exhibit A” to back up his country’s perspective. As it turns out, one of the three firearms used in an ambush that killed an American Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent in Mexico last month has been traced back to Texas.

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