Questions to the President
While in Mexico Bono met with President Calderon and after the meeting gave us this message:
'Next year Mexico will chair the G20, the annual get together of the most powerful leaders on the planet. Obama, Hu Jintao, Sarkozy, Merkel, Zuma, Dilma, they'll all be flying in. By the time they fly out, we want them to have agreed specific decisions which we know will save and transform lives in the poorest parts of the world. As the host, President Calderon will set the agenda. I asked him to persuade the G20 to take bold action on the fight against corruption globally, on improving healthcare, and on boosting agriculture around the world.'
During the meeting Bono explained that he had canvassed U2 fans for what they might want to ask the President and he was happy to respond.
Bono chose two questions from the many submitted - and here they are:
Question from Marleenie: 'Where would he be without the privilege of an education and what are his goals of ensuring education is an option for the next generation who will inherit the economic and environmental challenges to ensure sustainability of Mexico?"
President Calderon: 'Talking about the environment...we introduced in basic school the topic of the environment alongside math and science and English on the curriculum. You know, we have reached universal education for primary school. And we have created 800 new high schools. In 4 years we have created 91 new universities and increased the size of 47. Thirty percent of people now go to university, up from twenty four percent. There are now more engineers graduating every year in Mexico than in Germany.'
Question from christyrae75: 'The poor and disadvantaged are the ones who suffer most from violence in a society whether it be gang violence, domestic violence etc. What is his plan to stop the horrific violence that stems from the drug trade in Mexico? Does he have any strategies that can be used in other developing countries where factional violence inhibits development and preys upon the most vulnerable?'
President Calderon: 'There are three parts to our strategy. The first is to reduce the number of criminals with the full force of the state. The second is to build new institutions. There were 6,000 federal police, now there are 30,000. We are selecting educated young people and we are vetting them with polygraph, drug tests and psychological tests. We want smart, good people. The third part of our strategy is the social prevention of crime for example creating better opportunities in school for kids.'
We went on to ask, 'Is there anything more you can do to protect civilian lives in the midst of this crisis?' President Calderon was visibly upset about the situation, and talked about working to improve training in the Police Force and trying to stop the flood of automatic weapons across the border from the US.