MEXICO CITY – With the administration of President Donald Trump considering declaring Mexican drug cartels terrorist organizations, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador insisted that he does not want US military intervention against them.
Mexico’s drug cartels make billions of dollars per year on illegal drug sales in the US and have been locked into a bloody conflict with the Mexican government for over a decade. The Mexican Drug War has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 2007, and the recent mass murder of nine Americans in an apparent ambush near the US border prompted Trump to offer Mexico help to wipe the cartels “off the face of the earth”, RT reported.
Obrador rejected Trump’s offer, but the American president pressed ahead with plans to designate the cartels “foreign terrorist organizations”. Though this designation is usually applied to hit foreign terror groups with sanctions, many observers feared it would bring the US one step closer to putting troops on Mexican soil.
Against this background, Obrador met with US Attorney General William Barr in Mexico City on Thursday. The Mexican leader hailed the meeting as productive and told reporters on Friday that his government has “no confrontation” with the Trump administration.
Obrador pledged to cooperate with Washington on drugs, arms, and migration issues, but added that Mexico’s constitution states that “foreigners cannot interlude in politics in our country”.
“We can’t have foreign forces on our territory for military ends,” he said.
Mexico’s government has been criticized for allowing cartel violence to flourish in the country. A wave of assassinations stained the 2018 election season that saw Obrador take power, and the criminal organizations regularly bankroll sympathetic politicians in local elections.
Those who cannot be bought meet a different fate. Government security forces in the state of Sinaloa were forced to release notorious drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s son in October, when groups of armed criminals unloaded on police with heavy weaponry. Outgunned by the cartel, the authorities opted to free Guzman and stand down, lest the city of Culiacan degenerates further into war.