Home Headlines U.S. Secretary of State visits Mexico to address fentanyl and migration issues

U.S. Secretary of State visits Mexico to address fentanyl and migration issues

by Magali Alvarez
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Mexico on Wednesday to try to guide President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and other authorities on the fentanyl trafficking and consumption crisis, as well as the increased flow of migrants along the border between the two nations.

Joe Biden’s administration wants Mexico to extradite more drug traffickers and dismantle more clandestine laboratories of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has led to record numbers of overdose deaths in the United States.

In addition, the visit comes after the U.S. Border Patrol arrested the largest number of undocumented immigrants so far this year in August.

Blinken will depart from Texas and land around 4:45 p.m. local time at the Felipe Angeles Airport on the outskirts of Mexico City, one of the flagship projects of the Lopez Obrador administration.

During his two-day visit, the head of U.S. diplomacy will be accompanied by a high-level delegation composed of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall.

Also traveling will be the State Department’s Latin America representative, Brian Nichols, as well as the counter-narcotics chief of the same department, Todd Robinson.

The official agenda will begin tomorrow, Wednesday, with a new bilateral meeting between Blinken and Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena, who met last week in Washington.

A ministerial meeting on migration is also scheduled, in which other Latin American foreign ministers may participate.

On Thursday, the U.S. delegation will meet with its Mexican counterpart for the High Level Security Dialogue, where drug trafficking, arms trafficking and migration will be on the table.

At the conclusion, a press conference between Blinken and Bárcena is expected, after which the Secretary of State will end his visit with a meeting with López Obrador at the National Palace.

Fentanyl, center of discussion

Tension over fentanyl has roiled the bilateral relationship so far this year.

According to Washington, Mexican cartels manufacture this drug with chemicals purchased in China and then traffic it into U.S. territory, where last year more than 70,000 people died from overdoses of this substance.

In contrast, López Obrador has publicly denied that fentanyl is manufactured in Mexico and has assured that it arrives directly from China, despite the fact that his government has dismantled several clandestine laboratories of this drug.

In any case, there are signs of cooperation since Mexico, unlike China, joined the global coalition launched by the United States against fentanyl.

In addition, the Mexican government extradited Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, accused of trafficking fentanyl from the Sinaloa Cartel, to the United States in September.

Washington is now demanding the capture and extradition of Chapo’s other three sons, whom it calls “Los Chapitos”.

Mexico, for its part, insists that the United States must put a stop to the trafficking of thousands of weapons that each year end up in the hands of organized crime, aggravating violence in the Latin American country.

Concern about the border

Another of the phenomena of concern on the border is immigration, where the situation has not stabilized after the lifting in May of Title 42, the deportation policy applied during the Covid pandemic.

The United States, which arrested 233,000 people at the border in August, insists that the country’s doors are not open to undocumented immigrants and that the only way to migrate is through a limited program of humanitarian permits applied for online.

The phenomenon has caused in recent weeks the suspension of freight trains in Mexico due to the presence of thousands of migrants on the tracks and the increase of camps on the Bravo River, which serves as a natural border.

The Mexican Foreign Minister assured last week in Washington that her government is exploring the possibility of launching deportation flights to Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela for those migrants who remain stranded in Mexican cities on the border with the United States.

TYT Newsroom

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