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Mexico on high alert for Obama; Americas summit awaits

April 16, 2009 |  9:11 am

Mexico City is on high alert this morning as it awaits the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama, expected here today in his first official visit to Mexico.

As Tracy Wilkinson reports, drug-related violence promises to overshadow other important concerns here in Mexico such as trade and immigration.

"Mexico is also eager to see Washington make immigration reforms and pay greater attention to trade issues, but fears those matters might be obscured by the drug war."

Read the full analysis of Mexico's hopes from Obama's visit here.

Meanwhile, Obama is already gearing up for his next stop after Mexico -- the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

One of the major newspapers here, El Universal, published a column this morning written by the president. The column was published in newspapers across Latin America, and also appeared here in English in the Miami Herald.

Years of progress in combating poverty in Latin America are at risk due to the global economic crisis, the column says, and the United States' relationship with Latin America has suffered because it has allowed itself to be distracted by other priorities.

Peter Nicholas speculates on what Obama might be planning during his attendance at the summit.

Obama is a popular figure in the region and can expect an enthusiastic welcome. But he also will confront deep resentments over some U.S. policies that he is reluctant to change.

Other leaders want the administration to normalize relations with Cuba and resurrect a ban on the kinds of assault weapons being smuggled into Mexico, commitments Obama is unwilling to make.

Still, Obama is bound to get a better reception than his predecessor. Polls showed Bush to be the least popular American president ever among Latin Americans.

The last summit, held in Argentina four years ago, was widely considered a fiasco. Violent protests dominated the news. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez himself took part in an anti-American rally of 25,000 people.

Read on here.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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