Published: Sun, December 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Mexico bristles at United States terror designation plan

Mexico bristles at United States terror designation plan

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said he would not allow a foreign intervention following a plan by the Trump administration to designate the drug cartels based in Mexico as terrorist groups.

Although Mexico relied on USA aid and assistance through its war on drugs that claimed thousands of lives since its launch in 2006, the president's statements show the country is less than willing to have American special operatives on its soil.

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he planned to designate the Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations, after earlier saying he would help Mexico wage war on the drug gangs and wipe them off the face of the earth. The US Embassy in Mexico did not respond to a request for comment.

"Since 1914, there has been no foreign intervention in Mexico, and we can not allow this", Lopez Obrador said at a press conference, referring to the USA occupation of the port of Veracruz 105 years ago.

"In the unlikely case that a decision is taken that we consider affects our sovereignty, then we will act within the framework of global law, but I see it as unlikely", said the leftist leader, who took office one year ago.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr will visit Mexico next week to discuss security cooperation, Mexico's foreign minister said earlier. Lopez Obrador was elected in 2018 on a "strategy for peace" and promises of amnesty to non-violent cartel members.

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Trump has already forced Mexico's hand on immigration after threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican exports to the United States.

The country has registered more than 250,000 murders since deploying the army into the streets, including an all-time high of 33,743 last year - a record that looks set to be broken again this year.

"I don't want to say what I am going to do, but they will be designated", said Trump when asked if drone strikes in Mexico were a possibility. In a statement obtained by The New York Times, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said it had "entered into communication with the various corresponding authorities" of the United States "to know the content and the reach" of Trump's statements.

Mexican officials, institutions and even entire municipalities could be blacklisted by the USA if it regards them as being co-opted, influenced, and/or infiltrated by any of the terrorist-designated cartels, thus putting enormous pressure on the national government there to undertake transparent, verifiable and effective action to counteract this trend under the pane of having their ties with their northern neighbor severely curtailed.

However, the two countries cooperate closely in the fight against drug cartels.

It's a no-brainer that Trump will seek to use his administration's forthcoming designation of some Mexican cartels as terrorists to push his border security agenda, up to and including the permanent or "rotational" presence of the USA military along the Mexican frontier on the basis that their deployment is needed to more effectively combat terrorist infiltration into the country.

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