Donald Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups

Published on Nov 28, 2019 01:18 AM IST
Trump said in a radio interview this week that tens of thousands of Americans are killed every year because of drug trafficking and other activity by the cartels.
Donald Trump put the Mexican government on the defensive when he said he “absolutely” will move ahead with plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.(REUTERS)
Donald Trump put the Mexican government on the defensive when he said he “absolutely” will move ahead with plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.(REUTERS)
Washington | ByAssociated Press

President Donald Trump put the Mexican government on the defensive when he said he “absolutely” will move ahead with plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Trump said in a radio interview this week that tens of thousands of Americans are killed every year because of drug trafficking and other activity by the cartels. But Mexico is pushing back, worried that such a step would allow its neighbor to the north to violate its sovereignty by operating unilaterally inside Mexico.

“I’ve been working on that for the last 90 days,” Trump said in a radio interview with Bill O’Reilly, who asked whether such a designation would be forthcoming.

O’Reilly had asked Trump if he would designate the cartels “and start hitting them with drones and things like that?”

Trump replied: “I don’t want to say what I’m going to do, but they will be designated.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday that he did not want to enter a “political confrontation” with the U.S. government on the eve of its Thanksgiving holiday. He said that he would leave it at “cooperation, yes; interventionism, no,” and that he had instructed Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard to explain Mexico’s position to Washington.

Ebrard later tweeted that he’d already been in contact with the U.S. government and would use diplomacy to “defend sovereignty.”

Trump offered no timetable for the designation. After the U.S. labels an individual or organization as a terrorist group, it then becomes illegal for anyone in the United States, including banks and other financial institutions, to knowingly provide them with support. Members of terrorist groups are also denied entry into the U.S.

Authorities suspect Mexican drug cartel hit men in the shooting deaths of nine American women and children in northern Mexico earlier this month as they traveled in vehicles to visit relatives.

After the attack, Trump tweeted: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”

Trump said in the radio interview that López Obrador had rejected his offer to “let us go in and clean it out” but that “at some point, something has to be done.”

“Look, we’re losing 100,000 people a year to what’s happening and what’s coming through on Mexico,” Trump said, speaking of American lives. “And they have unlimited money, the people, the cartels, because they have a lot of money because it’s drug money and human trafficking money.”

In rejecting Trump’s approach, López Obrador said previous Mexican administrations had declared war “and it didn’t work.”

Ebrard’s office said Tuesday that he would get in touch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the subject and seek a high-level meeting as soon as possible.

The foreign minister noted Monday that a terrorist designation carries legal implications and that American law would then allow the U.S. government to act “in a direct way” against those groups.

“That, of course, Mexico would never accept,” Ebrard said. While the U.S. and Mexico have a history of cooperation in combating the cartels, principally through sharing intelligence, Mexico’s concern would be that U.S. forces would potentially move against targets independently, violating Mexico’s sovereignty.

Mexico’s Senate president, Ricardo Monreal, a member of the president’s party, said via Twitter on Tuesday night that the designation would allow the U.S. government “to use legal and institutional means that would permit it to act unilaterally in our territory with the justification of pursuing those groups.”

___

Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. 

    Facebook sparks outrage by complying with US police in an abortion case

    'A bad actor took advantage…': Twitter on reports of users' data sold online - 'Can't release encrypted chats' - For tech world watchers, the Nebraska case surely won't be the last. Meta did not provide AFP the Nebraska court's order. The police filing asked the judge to order the company not to tell Burgess's daughter about the search warrant for her Facebook messages.

  • “I would rather lose than win on a false promise,” Rishi Sunak said.

    'I would rather lose than...': Rishi Sunak on UK prime minister race

    Britain's prime ministerial candidate Rishi Sunak has insisted that he would rather lose the Conservative Party leadership race to replace Boris Johnson than win on a false promise on how he plans to tackle the economic crisis. “I would rather lose than win on a false promise,” Sunak, 42, said. Sunak also promised to "go further" than what he has already announced if elected Prime Minister.

  • Forty-two Malian soldiers were killed and 22 injured in an attack. (File Photo)

    Forty-two Malian soldiers killed in suspected Islamist attack

    Forty-two Malian soldiers were killed and 22 injured in an attack near the town of Tessit on Sunday, Mali's government said on Wednesday, blaming an Islamic State affiliate. It was one of the deadliest attacks in recent years for the Malian army, which has been battling a decade-long insurgency by militant groups that have spread across West Africa's Sahel region. Soldiers killed 37 combatants during several hours of heavy fighting, it added.

  • North Korea supremo Kim Jong Un

    Kim Jong Un had suffered fever symptoms, reveals North Korea on defeating Covid

    North Korea's Kim Jong Un declared victory in the battle against COVID-19 on Thursday, with the leader's sister revealing he had suffered from fever and vowing "deadly retaliation" against South Korea which it blames for causing the outbreak. It had instead reported daily numbers of fever patients, which totalled some 4.77 million, but has registered no new such cases since July 29.

  • Japan's minister of state for measures for declining birthrate Masanobu Ogura. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

    Japan's male minister tried ‘pregnancy belly’ to address falling birthrate issue

    Masanobu Ogura and two other male lawmakers were to keep the 7.3 kg (16 pound) pregnancy bellies on while going about their daily routines, in order to understand the burden on the body of carrying a child, the Sankei newspaper reported at the time.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now