San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Vice President Biden heads to Honduras

MEXICO CITY – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Mexican President Felipe Calderón in Mexico City Monday, the first stop on a two-day trip to Mexico and Honduras.

Biden was later due to meet with the three main candidates for the Mexican presidency, ahead of elections here on July 1.

The visit comes amid frustration in Mexico and Central America about the failure of U.S.-backed efforts to combat regional drug violence and new debate about legalizing illicit drugs, a step promoted by Guatemala.

In Honduras, Biden will hold bilateral talks with President Porfirio Lobo and meet with Central American leaders ahead of the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next month.

More than 90 percent of  cocaine that arrives in the United States passes through Central America and Mexico, where drug-related violence has increased in recent years, as well as the production of synthetic drugs.

The U.S. and Mexico are close trading partners as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, along with Canada.

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