Mexican politicians, analysts and the general public are irate after learning this week that Operation Fast and Furious, the US federal program that allowed more than 2,000 military-style weapons to flow illegally into Mexico between 2009 and 2010, happens to be copycat of a previous undercover and similarly illicit sting called Wide Receiver, an operation ran between 2006 and 2007.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug cartels on December 2006, same year of the launching of Operation Wide Receiver, which officially -and conservatively speaking- allowed some 500 fire-arms to "walk" across the border and get to the hands of organized crime.
The Mexican Senate demanded President Felipe Calderon to protest before the United States government and complained about both the Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver operations, Thursday. The president of the Senate's public safety committee, Felipe Gonzalez, said that he will protest against US federal agents running secret operations in Mexican soil.
An editorial in the daily "La Jornada" regarding the two gunrunning programs, questioned whether the US is an "ally or enemy" of Mexico (link in Spanish).
"While the Bush administration negotiated and signed the Merida Initiative -agreement of bilateral assistance through which Washington made a commitment to guide, counsel and equip Mexican authorities- the artillery's capabilities of delinquent organizations south of the Rio Bravo were being fed from an office in Washington," wrote the left-leaning newspaper.
The Calderon administration has firmly protested against the cited stings and has consistently affirmed that 80 percent of the weapons seized to Mexican criminal groups have been traced back to the US. Furthermore, Mexico's attorney general Marisela Morales called Operation Fast and Furious "an attack on Mexicans' security."
Morales told the Mexican press over a week ago -at that time, unaware of the additional US gunrunning probe- she had demanded a full explanation from the United States government, and also confirmed that at least 200 murders have occurred in Mexico as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.