Home Feature Under US pressure AMLO takes a turn in the fight against drug trafficking

Under US pressure AMLO takes a turn in the fight against drug trafficking

by Yucatan Times
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MEXICO CITY (Times Media Mexico) – Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is facing enormous pressure from the Donald Trump administration in the United States, who has requested the reinforcement of the strategy to fight drug cartels, including taking the elite forces of the Navy to the forefront of the war against transnational criminal organizations, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The measures mark a shift by Mexico from a counter-narcotics strategy that largely ended the pursuit of high-profile arrests and focused almost exclusively on poverty alleviation.

“We are operating again” a senior Mexican Navy official said. “The objectives that we must pursue have been defined”.

In the opinion of Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2013, the “coup de grâce” in the strategy to combat organized crime is the result of two trips by the U.S. attorney general to Mexico and “the threat of designating criminal groups as terrorist organizations and the threat of using punitive tariffs to force action against fentanyl”.

This is the result of two trips by the U.S. Attorney General to Mexico, the threat to designate criminal groups as terrorist organizations and the threat to use punitive tariffs to force action on fentanyl. Article by WSJ

According to the New York newspaper, the change in strategy comes amid growing alarm in Washington over Mexico’s failure to crack down on drug gangs, particularly after the November massacre of nine U.S. citizens by suspected hitmen: the LeBarón family.

Preliminary figures from the Mexican government indicate a major increase in the number of murders in Mexico during the past year; in 2018 there almost 38 thousand homicides, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi)

 U.S. Attorney General William Barr has taken a leadership role in pushing for changes by the Mexican government, including bringing the Navy into the counter-narcotics fight and expediting the extradition of suspects wanted for crimes in the United States, according to people familiar with the issue.

“As Mexico intensifies its efforts, the United States agreed to intensify actions to prevent arms smuggling into Mexico” according to the WSJ.

The “hugs, not bullets” approach seems to be changing. Especially now that the American government has become very proactive in pressuring Mexico to confront the most powerful groups, especially the New Generation Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels.

U.S. pressure on Mexico began to increase rapidly in November after three armed men suspected of belonging to a local drug cartel killed three mothers and six of their children, all U.S. citizens living in a fundamentalist Mormon community in Sonora — the LeBarón. The rival cartels are fighting for control of the area where the victims lived.

After the massacre, Trump said the United States would designate Mexico’s drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, a move that Mexico strongly opposed. Donald suspended the decision after Barr met with senior officials during a trip to Mexican soil in December.

A Mexican government spokesman said any action Mexico has taken, including actions to work with the United States, has been in the best interest of our country and not because of pressure from the Americans.

The attorney general has made two trips to Mexico City in recent months, meeting with López Obrador and key security officials.

The Justice Department, has said little about Barr’s work in Mexico, only that his discussions have covered a wide range of issues including drugs, weapons, human smuggling, and improving cooperation in the prosecution of gang leaders.

Barr, who visited Mexico in January, also urged the Mexican government to increase efforts to bring down fentanyl laboratories and tighten controls at its seaports to reduce the entry of precursor chemicals used in the labs, to curb the use of opioids, an epidemic in the United States, people familiar with the meetings said.

Good meeting with the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr. As a lawyer he understands that our Constitution obliges us to adhere to the principles of development cooperation and non-intervention in foreign policy. That way we can always work together (SIC)

The United States is pressing Mexico to expedite deportations and extraditions of suspected criminals wanted for crimes in the United States.

Lopez Obrador has been under pressure from the Trump administration before. Last year, the U.S. president threatened to apply increasingly high tariffs to Mexican exports unless his Mexican counterpart reduced the tide of Central American migrants traveling to the United States through Mexico.

Andrés Manuel, who had publicly criticized Trump’s migration policies, quickly complied, sending thousands of members of the newly created National Guard, originally intended to fight organized crime, to stop migrants from Central America arriving on U.S. soil. Mexico gave in to pressure from the United States.


The Yucatan Times

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