Bono, in Mexico, chastises U.S. for weapons that arm the drug cartels

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Bono has something to say about Mexico’s drug war too.

U2 packed Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium for three shows ending Sunday, and didn’t shy away from addressing the country’s brutal drug violence, which has killed more than 34,000 people since President Felipe Calderon announced a new offensive against traffickers in 2006. On closing night, the band’s lead singer, Bono, steered pointed remarks toward the United States, the source of many of the powerful weapons employed by the cartel hit men, in what he called a ‘message of love along the border.’

Bono said that while much attention is paid to drug-smuggling from Mexico to the United States, ‘we don’t hear about all the automatic weapons that are being smuggled into Mexico from the United States.’ (That’s not really true, since The Times and other outlets have reported often on the cross-border arms trade, but let the man have his say.) ‘Nine thousand registered arms dealers on the other side of the border,’ Bono told the crowd. ‘Nine thousand.’


‘We sing this for the innocents who have lost their lives in the violence here,’ Bono said. The band eased into ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ with slightly altered opening lyrics.

The band made a serious splash in Mexico City (link in Spanish), where Bono celebrated his 51st birthday last week (he even took a bottle of bubbly to the crowd outside his restaurant). Bono visited Calderon, who has complained often about the flow of U.S. -purchased arms into his country. Calderon, who is three years younger than Bono, attended Saturday’s show and tweeted that it was ‘extraordinary.’


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-- Ken Ellingwood in Mexico City